South Jersey’s Cork Becomes Keg & Kitchen

When Kevin and Janet Meeker opened Cork Restaurant in Haddon Township seven years ago, they were the first to bring several foodie-friendly concepts to South Jersey. In focusing on Belgian and craft beers (and designing their menu to complement these beers), they launched the Westmont neighborhood as South Jersey’s go-to craft beer destination. But now it’s 2012 and everyone is doing craft and Belgians–and everyone hip has moved on beyond Cork’s original concept as a polished contemporary American small-plater with an Asian twist.

So the owners of Old City’s the Plough and the Stars and Q decided to demolish the old and once again usher in the new. This week they re-opened Cork as Keg & Kitchen, a restaurant that now lives under the tagline “Craft Food/Craft Beer.” The farmhouse dining room is a first for South Jersey but one of a growing number of regional incarnations of rustic dining a la The Farmer’s Cabinet and JG Domestic.

Re-using materials reclaimed from Cork, the Meekers have gone whole hog in turning the once-sleek space into a barn. Burlap-covered booths, red-and-white checkered dish cloths as napkins and the requisite chalk board squealing the daily cheese board helps set the mood for a menu culled in part from the local farmers market. There’s also charcuterie and food served in jars (house-pickled veggies, anyone?). Newly hired chef Ian Flanagan–who most recently was leading tours of local breweries and catering pairing dinners–has one task: to cook simple, natural dishes that match the 100+ craft and Belgian beers, artisanal cocktails (bourbon and whiskey based, naturally) and affordable boutique wines.

The new/old space opens for lunch next week. Here’s the Keg & Kitchen Menu.

  • Haddon Henry

    Wow. So we’re celebrating the fact that their tired old concept finally failed and they’ve decided to do what the Pour House did three years ago. Every dish you described is old hat for places in town. You tout that they are still pushing a mainly belgium beer while citing how everyone else is doing just that.

    Hooray. Let’s celebrate the fact that they stole their ideas and concepts from truly innovative restaurants. Who knows what’s next – maybe brick oven pizza!!!

  • Jeff

    Oh Please Haddon Henry Cork’s food was always better than Pour House. Do you remember Kitchen 233 or that lousy Fish place that is now Pour House? That owner reinvented those places and made them better. This is just a reinvention of a great restaurant and I can’t wait to try it. I don’t know what you have against Cork but if you enjoy good beer and food you should be happy that SJ has so many choices. Quit being such a sour puss.

  • Darren

    It shoud be quite successful (for a while). But it just looks like a re-tread of items from a different menus from other restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I have been there and some of the food was tasty and the beer list extensive, but when you have a staff that doesnt know the beer list, you join the ranks of the chains. It aint no philly restaurant, nor any other big city.

  • Jobin

    If you throw enough shit at the wall eventually something will stick.