Very nearly a year after we first told you that Kensington Quarters would, at some point, be opening (and nearly two years after the enterprise first began to take shape), Michael Pasquarello and Bryan Mayer’s bar, restaurant, and butcher shop officially opened its doors last night.
You would never have known that the place is a new addition. A crowded bar of patrons sipping wine on tap and cocktails with names like “The Wishbone” and “The Cleaver,” a steady, busy dining room, and chef Damon Menapace calmly calling orders to his team behind the line in the open kitchen.
Yesterday, we brought you the menus. But for our first visit we tried a little bit of everything and, naturally, we brought a camera to share the experience with you.
Lotsa pictures, right this way
Tonight, Kensington Quarters opens on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. The combination butcher shop, restaurant and classroom is unique to Philadelphia and it will be interesting to see how the concept grows and evolves.
For now, we have the opening dinner, dessert and drink lists. The restaurant is starting off with a tight menu of small plates, starches and entrees. The menu runs from $11 for rare beef to $26 for a pork shoulder entree, served with potato torta and mustard greens. Though Kensington Quarters does include a butcher shop, the menu is far from strictly carnivore as the menu includes dishes that are or can be prepared for vegetarians.
For drinks, Kensington Quarters offers wine ($8 to $10.50) and beer ($5 to $6.50) on tap plus a list of cocktails.
Tomorrow, we’ll have a report on opening night.
Check out some photos and the opening menus »
Meat Locker at Kensington Quarters
Kensington Quarters is officially opening on Wednesday, October 29th. The Fishtown restaurant, bar, butcher shop, classroom combo will offer a selection of the region’s finest meats in its butcher shop, while diners of the restaurant enjoy drinks and dinner by Executive Chef Damon Menapace.
The classroom in the upstairs loft (which will also double as an event space) will host butchering classes as well as guest chef lectures and cooking demos that will acquaint guests with Kensington Quarters’ farm partners. A class schedule will be announced shortly after opening.
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The Star has a substantial update on Spring and Summer openings coming to Fishtown.
Among the highlights »
Though Kensington Quarters–Fishtown’s up and coming pasture-based butcher shop and eatery–is still mired in construction, the first glimpse of the food at their series of three Fried Chicken Pop-Ups was a great one.
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Remember how, a few weeks ago, we told you about Kensington Quarters–Michael Pasquarello and Bryan Mayer’s butcher shop/bar/restaurant/classroom that will open at some point in the next few months? And then how last week we told you about how the chickens didn’t get the memo about their construction delays so they’re hosting a Fried Chicken Pop-Up? Well, the news keeps getting better.
The chickens themselves are kind of remarkable, and even among all the great chickens in this town from Federal Donuts, Rotisseur, and The Fat Ham, these birds are pretty special. They’re locally-raised in Lancaster where they’re 100% pastured, thus eating legumes, bugs, and grass along with non-GMO feed. And oh, by the way, just to amp it up a little further: the birds will be fried in 100% grass fed beef fat, which means that even your self-righteous and selective-meat-eating friends (including yours truly) can get in on this hot, breaded action.
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On Thursday, January 9th, Michael Pasquarello of 13th Street Kitchens (Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taproom and Bufad) is showing off his upcoming Kensington Quarters at Cafe Lift. The pop-up will feature fried chicken from 6 to 11 p.m.
Why fried chicken? Well Pasquarello and butcher Bryan Mayer promised their farmer that they would be buying 200 chickens a week in 2014. But Kensington Quarters, the combination butcher shop and restaurant the pair are opening in Fishtown isn’t open yet, so we all get fried chicken.
A Fried Chicken Pop-Up [13th Street Kitchens]
Kensington Quarters [Foobooz]
Let me introduce you to Bryan Mayer, the butcher, as you’ll likely be hearing a great deal in the next few months about this Brooklyn transplant. Mayer, who traded bass playing for butchery after reading Bill Buford’s Heat, taught himself his craft based on a lot of practice and the Kitchen Pro series of books published by the CIA. Tom Schneller, an author of one of those texts, became an in-person teacher when Mayer took a job as the head butcher and teacher at Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in upstate New York. For four years, Mayer oversaw the operations of Fleisher’s shops in Kingston and Brooklyn, lectured on meat fabrication and charcuterie at the CIA, and, the accomplishment of which he’s proudest, trained aspiring butchers and helped them open their own shops all over the country.
Now, Mayer has moved to Philly and he, along with Michael Pasquarello (of Bufad, Cafe Lift, and Prohibition Taproom) is hard at work opening a his own shop in Fishtown.
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