Introducing Tavern & Grocery
At 5 pm today, Tavern & Grocery will open its doors in the former home of West Main Restaurant. It is the latest project of restaurateur Andy McClure, who also owns Citizen Burger Bar, The Biltmore, and The Virginian. At Tavern & Grocery, McClure says to expect “classic tavern dishes” in a comfortable setting – the type of food you’d want “when you return home from a long trip.”
A sneak peek at the menu reveals familiar favorites, gussied up, like a crispy chicken sandwich with Swiss, bacon, and sriracha mayo, and a “steak and fromage” sandwich, with cold smoked grass-fed rib-eye, sliced thin to order, creamy brie, caramelized red onion, on crusty bread. But, there’s more adventurous stuff too, like veal sweetbreads with dill sauce, and a banh mi sandwich, with smoked pork belly and house pork pate, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, and miso mayo. As for the “grocery,” a section of the menu called “The Store” offers house-made items to-go like cured ham and smoked sausage.
Running the kitchen is David Morgan, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who has been sous chef to Tucker Yoder at Clifton Inn and Ian Boden at Staunton Grocery, and also worked for Reed Anderson at Blue Light Grill during what he calls its “glory days.” The dish that Morgan lights up about is “Squid and Eggs.” Baby squid, braised in red wine and smoked pork stock, is topped with a 62 degree egg. “When broke and stirred in,” says Morgan, “it becomes something magical. Perfect to mop up with a hand-torn chunk of bread.”
Downstairs is a bar called Lost Saint, a promising addition to our cocktail scene, which McClure describes as a “modern cocktail lab in a historic setting.” Managing and co-owning Lost Saint is McClure’s brother Patrick, a Certified Cicerone who has worked at and even managed some great Washington D.C. bars like Birch & Barley, Eat the Rich, and Barrel. Patrick plans “modern classics” using house-made tinctures, bitters, shrubs, and infusions. “Our guests can expect a classic cocktail customized to their preferences or a new flavor combination from our house cocktail menu,” says Patrick. For food, there will even be some Lost Saint-only items from the Tavern & Grocery kitchen.