September 2016 marked the opening of Butcher Bar at 2034 Chestnut Street. This meat-centric spot specializes in decadent cuts of meat and comfort foods, offering a full bar with 16 beers on draft, as well as draft wines and whiskey based cocktails. The credit for this venture goes to the crew behind Varga Bar, Mercato and Valanni, the Anni Group was inspired by an old-fashioned butcher shop feel.
Owners, George Anni said, “I remember as a kid going to the corner butcher for my mom and wondered how cool would it be to have the meat cooked there, rather than going home….One day while at Valanni, I observed chef John making seafood sausage then walked over to Mercato and saw chef Evan preparing meatballs. I thought to myself, who doesn’t like sausage and meatballs? So, the idea for Butcher Bar was really a combination of nostalgia and my love of meat.”
The interior of the restaurant is beautifully designed showcasing the space with subway tiles, hanging meat hooks, a collection of knives and cleavers, a butcher scale, vintage photos, exposed brick, and reclaimed wood. The mezzanine level, which is open down to the bar, offers a good view of Chestnut Street, with large windows that can open for a breath of fresh air during the spring and summer months.
Chefs Evan Turney and John Strain are sharing the executive chef’s title and their menu is both extensive and unique, including meat dishes from meatballs, to house-made beef and house-made sausages, rotisserie items and more. Herbivores have no fear- there are still options for you here such as Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts, The Hipster Meatball, and the famous Pretzel Monkey Bread, served with spicy beer mustard, cheddar cheese sauce, and sea salt.
If you’re interested in a Saturday brunch, you’re out of luck. Butcher Bar offers their brunch ONLY on Sundays from 10:30-2:30 pm. If you plan to bring a full table of meat eaters, take a chance at the Brunch Trough, which requires 24 hour advance notice! This massive plank of meat serves 6-8 people for $175. In all its glory, the trough includes grilled skirt steak, frittata with spinach, cheddar, roasted peppers and onions, loaded potato hash, cast iron pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, applewood-smoked bacon, maple bacon breakfast sausage, the Royale Burger with cheese, and glazed doughnuts. This belly buster meal requires quite the appetite, so bring your A game and be ready to grub.
For the typical brunch patron, the menu features starters, plates, and sides. Begin with a brunch classic like the Smoked White Fish with hard boiled egg, red onion, capers, on pretzel bread crostini, with a side arugula salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. We began with ordering the Buttermilk Biscuit with Gravy (definitely a heartier option to start off your brunch experience), coated with roasted shiitake mushroom gravy. Add on breakfast sausage to your gravy for an extra $2, and don’t forget the hot sauce!
Butcher Bar offers bigger plates if your motto is more like “go big or go home.” The Cowboy Skillet is a savory selection and one of the best sellers on the brunch menu. This skillet is loaded from the cast iron skillet up with fingerling potatoes, sausage, bacon, peppers, onions, white cheddar, and then two eggs over easy to top it all off. There is no question it will fill you up to satisfaction, fit for a cowboy in the truest sense.
Breakfast lovers will rejoice in ordering the thick and fluffy Huckleberry Skillet Pancakes served with warm maple syrup, citrus butter, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. We couldn’t resist ordering the Eggs Benedict which is a benedict unlike any other with a unique combination of buttermilk biscuits, maple bacon breakfast sausage, hollandaise, sauteed spinach, and smashed fingerlings. This is definitely a rich and comforting dish with the house-made biscuits as a base.
If you’re less inclined for breakfast items, Butcher Bar also serves The Royale with Cheese for both brunch, lunch, and dinner. This burger is piled high with two beef patties, american cheese, lettuce, pickles, onions, and special sauce on butter toasted potato roll. We’re carnivorous so we will surely be back for the Italian Meatball Sandwich with provolone cheese, pork ragu, and grated Parmesan cheese served on a long roll.
Wash it all down with a nice stiff drink, Butcher Bar’s cocktail list is creative as well as classic. If a Bloody Mary is your go to, try the Topless Bloody Mary, and add any topping which includes applewood smoked bacon, beef jerky, or chicharron. The Spritz 2034 is a vodka based cocktail served with raspberry vodka, lemon, sloe gin, sauvignon blanc, and soda. The Butcher’s Bellini is a spin on a brunch cocktail classic with brandy, peach liqueur, orange juice, and prosecco.
Whether or not your full blown carnivore, a beer from their selection will also pair exceptionally well with the dish of your choice. Beverage director Richard Colli’s beer list has 16 on tap plus two cask engines. Six draft wines, 3 whites and 3 reds, are available in addition to a large array of whiskey-based cocktails. Butcher Bar is open for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays. Reservations can be easily made via Opentable.