From Scott Dolich:
“Scott Dolich remembers the moment he realized the charming little brick building at 1639 NW Marshall Street would be an ideal place for a tavern.
“I passed by the building every night on my way home. It was a shoe store. Every Friday in the summertime, the owners would open the garage doors and throw a party. You could see they had a keg or two. It was very inviting. The building was meant to be a Tavern.”
The building, half of which dates back to 1918, has been many things over the last century – a residence, a high-end garage, and most recently the home for Oddball Shoes, to name a few. Now one of Slabtown’s most unique and iconic buildings will be home to The Bent Brick Tavern.
Stripped Down, Bare Brick
The Bent Brick promises to be a neighborhood meeting place, a daily stop off, and a destination for anyone who, in the words of Anna Josephson, The Bent Brick’s general manager, “wants a good drink, a good bite to eat, and good conversation without going broke.” As Josephson adds, “The Bent Brick will be extremely approachable. The price point, the atmosphere, the drinks…everything will reflect that. After all, we’re talking about a tavern.”
Beyond the building’s iconic look and feel, Dolich was drawn to the history of the neighborhood. “In many ways, the Slabtown neighborhood is a place in time. It’s always been an industrial area. When the industry was lumber, people came here for the huge slabs of wood that were left behind when large timber was milled. People used them to heat their homes. It was a resourceful way of being, and The Bent Brick is operating from a similar place.”
“I like the utilitarian history of the area. Within that, there’s also a strong sense of community and connection. A good local tavern aligns with this same ideal. It should be a familiar place where people can gather, have a good time and feel at home.”
From Neighborhood to Table
The Bent Brick intends to honor this creative pragmatism in a number of ways, beginning with a concise menu that follows our seasons and focuses on local suppliers.
While Dolich’s first restaurant, Park Kitchen, remains on the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, The Bent Brick will extend the philosophy of buying local to the entire restaurant. This includes everything from the protein and vegetable selections to what’s in dry storage and even behind the bar. “Of course we’re thinking about sustainability. More importantly, we’re thinking about our community. Our suppliers are an integral part of our community and who we are. The more we’re able to support them, the more they can support us. We’re not just talking about tomatoes and pigs. I want every product in the restaurant to be sourced as close to our back door as possible. It will mean that we won’t have capers, balsamic vinegar, cognac or great wines from Burgundy. But we can make our own version of capers and our own vinegars. We can stock a huge selection of whiskey and Rye and we’ll pour only the local wines that best reflect our place. I’m proud of that.”
“You will see more house-made ingredients on the bar list than you will in other places,” says Adam Robinson, who will be heading up the Bent Brick’s liquor and spirits program. “With so many local boutique and artisan spirits available in the region, we want to source our spirits, liquors and wines as close to home as possible. In practical terms, this means that brand loyalists looking for an Absolute martini or a Grey Goose and cranberry may need a helpful suggestion from the Bent Brick’s bar and wait staff the first time they pore over the drink menu. We’ll be happy to point them to a different bend on their favorite drink.”
We’ll get our inspiration from classic cocktails but we will execute them using what we can source locally.” Robinson says. “You may not be able to get a Negroni – and Negroni drinkers like their Negronis – but we’ll have a fantastic house drink made with local, regional and domestic spirits that will fit the flavor profile. We’re looking forward to this challenge.”
To support their efforts, The Bent Brick’s management staff will continue to build relationships with local and regional vendors in their ongoing attempt to source products within the closest reach possible. Still, as Chef William Preisch points out, the primary focus will point back to the quality of the experience for their guests.
“The food will simply and directly reflect where we are now,” says Preisch. “Sure, we need to take pride in our products and everything we do with them but we’re not trying to make a big deal about how we’re doing anything. The preparation and technique should be an afterthought for our guests. We want people to come in, have a great time, and come back with their friends. Our process may attract some interest, but that’s not the point. What happens behind the scenes is our way of challenging ourselves. Bottom line…we want to make something delicious that people will enjoy.”
David Padberg will continue as acting sous of Park Kitchen. To those who are asking the question, no burgers.