|From left, Marcus Palmer and Chris Frothingham; photo by Naomi Kooker|
The 12,000-sq.-ft., two-level space hides behind what looks like a Colonial façade. The vestibule walls are embedded with brook stones as an ode to Vine Brook, which may still flow under the building. A horseshoe bar made of brick and reclaimed wood anchors the “tap room” on the first floor, which will feature high-top tables, six TVs at the bar, regular seating and a chef’s table behind barn doors. Diners looking for a quieter experience can head upstairs to the multi-room setting and seven-seat bar.
The interior design combines rustic and contemporary elements - reclaimed wood floors and ceiling, tin ceiling, and cool blue and milk chocolate walls. Bare bulb lighting with custom fixtures, such as old wine barrel rims to create the entranceway’s chandelier, will lend a rustic character.
The creative menu highlights seasonal ingredients and the eclectic style of executive chef Chris Frothingham, who spent eight years working and traveling with Todd English. He began his career as a line cook at Sel de la Terre and attended New England Culinary Institute. For a taste of the menu, Frothingham revealed a black cod cassoulet with local clams and chorizo, and steamed Berkshire pork dumplings with sake and sour plum (a nod to his Thailand travels with English). Entree prices will generally fall between $17-$29.
The bar will feature cocktails, 12 beers on tap, 12 bottled as well as 24 wines by the glass.
“It’s a serious beverage program to go with the food,” says Marcus Palmer, owner and operator. Of late, Palmer was a consultant to Michael Schlow. He has served on Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Global Development Team, opening restaurants all over the world as well as Market in the W Hotel Boston. Palmer also worked with English, and worked with Frothingham while he was at English's Bonfire.
Partner Brian Lesser (Storyville) counts this as his first suburban restaurant and his 18th restaurant/nightclub opening.
Vine Brook Tavern will be open seven nights for dinner, lunch Friday and brunch Saturday and Sunday.