After much speculation, Greg Best, Regan Smith, and Paul Calvert’s Krog Street Market restaurant will open the first week in October, with a friends and family night in late September. Although the trio has yet to reveal a name—they claim “the Tipsy Hippo” is incorrect—they are slowly revealing some of their plans for the project.
David Bies, formerly of Restaurant Eugene, will serve as partner and executive chef behind the composed plates, as well as some sandwiches, with prices in the mid-to-high twenties. (Bart Sasso, another staffer from Linton Hopkins’s Resurgens Hospitality Group, is the fifth partner).
“There’s no fine dining aesthetic,” Best says. “It’s built on a framework of really approachable, recognizable foods that are highly craveable. It’s food suited to be eaten [when] sitting around drinking with people.”
Best likens it back to the beginning of Holeman & Finch—where he and Smith were partners—before the focus of the gastropub shifted to the burger and charcuterie. “In the beginning it was about a local cheers aesthetic with the personality influences from those involved,” he says, adding that the kitchen will draw from sentimental dishes, with some possible New England influences. The menu will not change frequently.
Best and Calvert will lead the bar program together, with Smith managing front of house operations. Best says there will be a simplicity to the wine and cocktail menus, focusing on curation rather than breadth. The drinks will fall in the $9 to $13 price range.
“The cocktails will be more in the style of classics than these liquid nitrogen dust and tapioca pearl [drinks]—more like the standards available in the 1800s at a pub,” he says. “We want it to be more about the place and less about us.”
There will be one “cup of the house” that will always be available, but no single spirit will be the focus of the beverage menu. “We’re mining ingredients from the historical sensibility,” he says.
As for the design, the team has been busy seeding misnomers to throw curious diners (and media) off course. “We’re taking an irreverent approach to branding and specifically not creating a compact model so people don’t start programming it with what they think the place should be,” Best explains.
“Familiar Americana iconography” and palm trees currently painted outside their Krog Street Market location will come into play eventually, but not as a tiki bar as some have surmised. Coins with the face of the grim reaper, which they’ve been passing around for months, will come into play as well. “Things got quite serious in the restaurant world. I feel like not enough people are having fun,” he says. “We’re being random and ridiculous. If it makes everyone laugh, let’s just put it out there.”
The restaurant will serve dinner daily with a takeaway lunch option during the week. It will seat 65 and feature an indoor patio-like area that opens up into the market. Reservations will not be accepted.