Posted by The Editorial Desk / Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Mind you, they’ve only been baking and a-brewing for about a week.
But Northside Social founder Stephen Fedorchak insists management sees plenty of room for improvement.
“We’re our own toughest critics,” Fedorchak said of the auto-scrutiny and fine-tuning NS staff are applying to the combo coffee shop/artisan bakery/wine bar. He noted that the public response has been very encouraging.
“People are hanging out outside. There are dogs, kids and neighbors … which is exactly what we wanted,” Fedorchak said.
The completely remodeled space bares little resemblance to its more bohemian predecessor, Murky Coffee.
Northside boasts four, inviting seating environments: a sun-splashed, streetside patio, the mixed-use main dining room (retail shelves tempt line standers with gourmet blends of Counter Culture coffee and fresh-baked artisan breads; refurbished chairs and galvanized buckets recast as light fixtures offer guests reclamation-inspired comfort), a cozy, library-style rear lounge (complete with communal bookshelf; pictured at right) and the farmer’s table-style wine bar located upstairs (antique backgammon table is pretty cool, too).
The wine bar remains very much a work in progress, according to Fedorchak. He said the plan is to open it up every night (except Sunday) from 4 p.m. till … well, till the crowds clear out–which will most likely be on the earlier side at the beginning of the week and much later from Humpday on (currently open past midnight from Wednesday – Saturday).
Pastry chef Rob Valencia knows from moist cakes, whipping up a rotating roster of signature coffee cakes (vanilla painted with a lip-smacking lemon glaze comes to mind), cookies and brownies whose fans will, no doubt, be legion.
I fear that savory options, on the other hand, may be limited by the truncated kitchen set-up (only heating elements I spotted were a pair of panini presses). That said, a pork belly–advertised as “crispy;” turned out more brisket tender (an unintended win in my book)–and broccoli rabe pairing proved so scrumptious, I was soon left with a lap full of ciabatta crumbs and a gnawing desire to scoop up an encore serving for the road.
“We’ll open Lyon Hall this week,” Fedorchak pledged, touting a Thursday debut–while reserving the right to back things up till Saturday–as go-time for the highly anticipated brasserie.