The Bar at Sasha Petraske's Dutch Kills in Long Island City | Image via
In an interview with Plan Philly regarding his plans for opening a beer garden in Fishtown this summer, Stephen Starr also reveals this gem about the back bar at El Rey, his other upcoming project, which he hopes to open in late April at 20th and Chestnut in the old Midtown IV Diner:
"Starr hired the owner of Milk and Honey, located in New York's east side – to develop the cocktail menu."
The owner of Milk and Honey is famed mixologist Sasha Petraske. So we're assuming that's who the reporter means Starr has hired to develop the cocktail program at El Rey.
Which is big news.
Starr has made no secret of his plans for a speakeasy vibe in the back bar at the former diner, which will be connected to the main El Rey restaurant but be "thematically separate" and have it's own entrance on Ranstead Street.
So by hiring Petraske, who helped start the speakeasy trend with Milk and Honey on Manhattan's Lower East Side last decade, to consult on the bar program for the El Rey annex, Starr is breaking out the big guns.
UPDATE: A Starr rep writes in to clarify:
Sasha Petraske will be consulting with Stephen Starr on a yet-to-be named cocktail lounge. The lounge is an annex of Starr’s new restaurant, El Rey, and will feature handcrafted cocktails for which Petraske is known.Got that?
While Petraske won’t be consulting on the beverage program within the restaurant itself, the cocktail list at El Rey will include a handful of specialty cocktails featuring fresh, hand-squeezed juices; a limited list of California , Spanish and South American wines; a choice selection of tequilas and mezcals; and an assortment of bottled and draft beer.
Petraske is consulting on the cocktail lounge/speakeasy annex to be located at the rear of El Rey, but not on the beverage program at El Rey itself.
Meanwhile, after the El Rey Annex/Speakeasy opens next month, look out. Between it, Village Whiskey, and Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co., there will be a very nice concentration of excellent cocktails in the immediate vicinity of 18th/20th and Sansom/Chestnut.
Other key outtakes from the interview, regarding the beer garden:
- "Starr says local brews will definitely be joining German and Austrian imports on the menu [ at the beer garden]."HOLLA.
- "We want to do a neighborhood-y place. A place that caters to the city, as opposed to the suburbs,” he said.
- 250 seats outside
= When asked why create a beer-focused venue, Starr said, “I'm always looking for something new to do. I get bored with myself.”
- Starr has no love for the casino projects: "When asked what the proximity of SugarHouse, and, further south on Columbus, Foxwoods, would do for his business, Starr said, "I think they do nothing for it. I'm not a big fan of the casino thing.'
Yo Fishtown: A Biergarten is in your future [ Plan Philly ]
Starr Poaches Longtime Xochitl Chef Dionicio Jimenez From Team Cook-Solomonov For Forthcoming Midtown Diner Project