There are many things in life that indicate a sign of the times. The text message craze, “going green”, buying local and organic are all examples of these. Not to be outdone with the changing of culture and trends is Keg and Kitchen. Formally known as Cork Genuine Food and Drink, Keg & Kitchen is a sharp contrast of its former self. Gone are the wine centric themes and special occasion atmosphere that are associated with a place considered a wine bar, replaced with a more relaxed theme centered on a growing trend in restaurants and bars today, craft beer.
“We wanted to let people know this was more than a special occasion place.” said, Kevin Meeker owner of Keg & Kitchen, as I sat down and asked him the reasoning behind the change. When you walk into Keg and Kitchen you will notice immediately the change that has taken place. From the new high top-tables and the centerpiece dining table made from a naturally felled Oak tree, to chalkboard style menu board, and the beer themed décor placed throughout, Keg and Kitchen is committed to letting you know what they are all about, craft beer and craft cuisine.
As I sat down with Tim Lyons, general manager and driving force behind the beer-centric makeover, it was apparent that all parties involved were committed to making this change a success. Specifically, Tim is the man behind the scenes when it comes to selection, presentation, and pricing of the beers served at Keg & Kitchen. Tim’s background in the beer biz started a few years ago just outside of DC where he worked/managed a small craft beer bar. He explained to me why he was brought on at Keg and Kitchen. “They brought me in to really make sure we had the right pour, at the right price and that all the staff on hand knew everything there is to know about the beer they are serving.” Tim also made sure to inform me that they were working with Lagunitas, Great Lakes and Oskar Blues as their featured breweries and Lagunitas has also supplied their water glasses. Tim also revealed that K&K moved more Lagunitas over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend than the traditional Guinness! In closing, Tim expressed that, “I want everyone to know is that we are adding to our large bottle list as we move forward. Specifically big bottles of Saison Dupont, Fantôme Saison, and other world class beers as their seasons come.”
Keg at Kitchen features daily and weekly food and drink specials, as well as fresh creations from Chef Eán in a revamped and diverse menu, complete with beer pairings. (I should know, I recently helped create some pairings, and they are excellent if I do say so myself.) Here is what Chef Eán had to say about Keg and Kitchen’s menu. “On our menu now I use Edmund Fitzgerald Porter in my beer batter for the fish and chips and the Asparagus Fries. I use Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier in my mussel dish. I use Belgian Abbey Dubbel to brine the brick chicken. There is beer in the veal demi that I use in Roasted Onion soup, the braising liquid for the short ribs and the base for my steak sauce. Most of the specials I run have beer as a main flavoring ingredient.”
Most may not know this, but Keg and Kitchen is also a place where you can come and get your growler filled. Check back for updates on the growler station, as well as upcoming tasting and brewery events. Canned beer fans should not pass an opportunity to come down on Wednesday’s Canned Beer nights where you can get $2 off your canned beer choices!
I really enjoyed my time learning about all the changes that were made, and all the hard work that was put into making Keg and Kitchen a reality. From beer pairings in a more relaxed setting, to the expanded draught and bottle list, the people behind the renaissance at 90 Haddon Ave really showed their commitment to providing a place for those embedded in or on the fringe of the craft beer scene to come and enjoy themselves in a comfortable, practical setting.
Please check out the photos from my visit as they are in a before and after format, showing a section of Cork pre-change, and how it looks today as Keg & Kitchen. Enjoy!