Last month, I got a sneak peek at the interior of the new Brick Farm Tavern, the upcoming farm-to-table restaurant immediately east of Hopewell Borough on RT518.
And now, most recently, I had the opportunity to sit with down Brick Farm Tavern chef, Greg Vassos, and general manager, Mike Lyken. Originally from Massachusetts and Colorado respectively, Vassos and Lyken were both most recently employed at The Broadmoor, a five-star luxury resort in Colorado Springs.
“We are coming from a 5-star background, with that 5-star service and food. But, from the food perspective, we’re going to create something that people can relate to on any level. It will be adventurous and fun without being intimidating,” said Vassos.
“The dishes can be whimsical with a sense of humor. We are playful people with rigorous standards for our team,” said Lyken.
Together, with co-owners Jon and Robin McConaughy, Vassos and Lyken share a vision for the new restaurant — one of sustainability and creativity.
“It is farm-to-table at its truest experience,” said Vassos.
The menu is ingredient driven, with dishes listed by main components, all seasonal and local, from the adjacent McConaughy Double Brook Farm. Each dish is built creatively and purposefully with an eye to the seasonally changing landscape. “We even layer the dishes based on the depth that produce grows so that the dish mimics a garden,” said Vassos.
Proteins will be entirely from Double Brook, with the butcher and restaurant staff having frequent communication and weekly meetings to determine slaughter schedule along with the butcher’s suggestions on how to use the whole animal.
“It forces us to be creative in the kitchen, exposing customers to new cuts” said Vassos. “We find that people are more savvy than before and care about where their food is coming from.”
The produce will be primarily from the adjacent farm. “We’ve already planned the growing season for next year,” said Vassos. “The farmer will often be in the kitchen to refine what is given to guests and we’ll be picking our own herbs with the farmer.” As for winter vegetables, Vassos said, “Winter offers less to choose from but is a creative time.”
The restaurant menu will be varied and will offer vegetarian options, as well. “Vegetarian items are not an afterthought,” they both agreed. And there will be a separate bar menu with 6-8 items that are more casual.
The bar will offer craft cocktails, plenty of classics that will be made with local spirits and ingredients created using traditional preservation methods. They will also offer some local wine.
Inside, the building is still segmented into many separate rooms which are still referred to based on what the rooms were originally used as, for example the “living room.” For that sneak peek that MercerMe got of the interior, check out Sneak Peek at Brick Farm Tavern.
“We are living our dreams — being in business with Robin and Jon — there is so much love behind what we are doing,” said Lyken. “And we are thankful to be part of the community and can’t wait to open our doors and express gratitude with quality of service and food.”
The Brick Farm Tavern will be opening November 19th. Check out their website where you can find out more and (eventually) get reservations! http://brickfarmtavern.com