Who would guess that an English actor would meet, fall in love, and open up such a successful restaurant in Headhouse Square? The Twisted Tail has been a staple since opening in 2011 with its adorable logo designed by owner, George Reilly, depicting a greedy pig who has got himself stuck climbing into a bourbon barrel. Bourbon lovers flock to this spot for their extensive selection of over 140 bourbons in addition to their amazing food.
The restaurant is built around the social aspect of eating and drinking. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming – the restaurant prides itself on customers walking in as strangers and leaving as friends. In addition to the drinks and local music showcases, last month, Head Chef Leo debuted a new menu featuring small plates, so we had to check it out.
After attending Oxford drama school, George spent most of his time between New York and Philadelphia. Between shows he would typically work in restaurants. For awhile his acting career took him to the South where he fell in love with American comfort food. When his acting career came to an end, his goal soon became opening an authentic English style pub with progressive American cuisine.
In addition to ample seating on the first floor, the second floor of the restaurant features an additional full size bar and stage for showcasing music. Sunday Jam is an open mic night every week from 5-9 pm where customers can grab guitars off the walls to play along with each other. Miley Junior leads the full house band upstairs and there are various acoustic acts on the first floor during the week for ambiance. Additionally there is a lounge area with shuffleboard. An unofficial shuffleboard league meets every Monday at 6:30 pm starting June 6th.
The Twisted Tail is obviously known for their bourbons. They have over 140 listed and customers can sign up for their free Bourbon Club. When a member of the club tries every bourbon on the list, they get an engraved glass with their name plaque on it held behind the bar and a lifelong discount. Looking for a bourbon suggestion? Bartenders will turn to the members of the club for their expert opinion. Special events are even held where club members will get the first notice on ticket sales, keep an eye out friends because September is Bourbon Heritage Month!
With the Kentucky Derby recently, we had to try a Mint Julep with whiskey from Woodford Reserve featured after a derby party was held at the restaurant. If Bourbon isn’t your drink you can always try a homemade infusion, rotating seasonally we had the Coco-nib Infused Bourbon, Elderberry Tequila, and Hibiscus Infused Vodka. The flight of 3 was a perfect sampling option.
I am a huge cheese lover, so I couldn’t resist the Ham and Cheese Board offered at Twisted Tail. The have an exceptional variety of rare cheeses from small farms which are only produced seasonally. These farmers are so passionate they only produce in very small quantities the best quality product. All cheeses are sourced by Murray’s cheese in New York and are found within the United States. Plates offer a selection of 3 or 5. We tried the Dunbarton Blue, Kunik, St. Stephen, Harbison, and Bonne Bouche. Everyone was so excellent I could have made my meal entirely of cheese and the complimentary truffle popcorn on the table.
These hams should not be overshadowed. The 4 on the menu are also found in the US and selection rotates, but we tried the La Quercia, Benton’s Ham, Col. Bill Newsom’s, and Burger’s Smokehouse. We tried La Quercia and Benton’s. La Quercia is smoked like a prosciutto, but the Benton’s Ham stole the show. You MUST try this ham, its quite possibly life changing.
To try the new small plates on the menu we had the Chicken Liver Toast with Harry’s berries and candied pistachio which was divine spread on top of smoked toast points. The Bresola with arugula and red velvet apricots or the Scallops with almonds, parsley, and pickled ramps are perfect light and flavorful bites for the warmer months. The Green Goddess with Fiddlehead ferns is also recommended as one of the owners favorite vegetable dishes.
The Wild Boar Sausage is a heartier dish and of course no comfort food lover should skip the Crawfish Mac & Cheese which has been on the menu since the restaurant first opened. If you love to indulge the Senat Farm Fried Chicken with rosemary honey and Sweet Potato fries is also recommended
For our main course we tried the Smoked Duck Breast with spring peas and black garlic vinaigrette as well as the Crispy Soft Shell Crab. Both plates were absolutely unique and beautifully prepared for a fresh look. Sometimes I wish everything I ate was garnished with watermelon radish.
For dessert we could not resist the homemade donuts with a caramel and chocolate bourbon dipping sauce. It is safe to say you cannot go wrong with anything on the new menu at Twisted Tail. Try the Chef’s tasting with 8 courses for $55 to get a little bit of everything!
You can even do a Pig Roast with a party of 10 or more! A whole Roasted Suckling Pig is deboned, stuffed and roasted. Then its carved table-side by the Chef and presented with five delicious sides. Pricing starts at $50/person, minimum one week advance notice required.
Brunch is also offered on the weekend. Stop by for some great happy hour deals everyday of the week! Monday-Saturday from 5-7 pm and late night Sunday from 10 pm-12 am including $3 Select Draft Beers, $4 House Wine and discounted appetizers. Reservations available on Opentable.