It has been a while since chef Mackenzie Hilton has been in town. After winning praise for her time behind the stove at Mercato (and bringing home a win on the Food Network show Chopped), she took off for the Bay Area, where she spent a year and a half hanging out in the farm-to-table Mecca that is San Francisco.
But now, she’s back in her old neighborhood again, running the kitchen at Tavern which, slightly confusingly, lives in a basement space beneath the Tavern on Camac.
This new gig appears to have a very specific focus: serving evening and late-night crowds of music fans, theater-goers and industry personnel. The joint doesn’t even open until 6pm, but then stays open until 3am every night of the week (except Tuesday, when it’s closed).
What’s more, the menu appears kinked for the night creatures and white jackets as well, with pork belly sliders topped with kimchi, monkfish po’boys, a pickle plate, kale chips, deviled eggs, cheese plates, grilled cheese sandwiches made with excellently curated cheeses and served with tomato soup, and a breakfast burger made with pork roll with a fried egg on top. Much of the menu seems geared specifically toward filling the late-night cravings of those who know from good grub, with the balance of it tuned toward yoga instructors and healthy eaters on an after-midnight tear.
There’s a bar, of course. A beer program. Classic cocktails. A few wines. A “lived in” and “casually cool” vibe, according to the press materials. But the big draw of the place will be its offering of a balanced and well-designed menu for those looking to get something to eat after last call that doesn’t come wrapped in wax paper or served in a Doritos-flavored shell. You can check out the full menu below.