I had the opportunity to stop into The Shop during their soft opening this week with JVS and Kevin from Rare Form. The owner, Kevin Blodgett, sat down with us for a beer and while we shared some plates and even Nick from The Confectionary hung out for a few rounds as well. This was one of those unexpected, innocent Monday nights that snowballed into a ridiculously good time. Let’s take a quick look at the pics.
The Shop is one of these places doing the vintage industrial thing. I’m an absolute sucker for it. The way the vintage metal and wood intertwine throughout the whole space looks amazing. Pretty much everywhere you look there is repurposed lumber, wood crates, and tools, most of which was sourced during the renovation of the other sections of Kevin’s building. The atmosphere makes for an extremely comfortable place to chill whether you’re out for a night on a town or a blue collar guy stopping for a PBR after work.
Kevin is pretty open about the fact the the menu has been paired down due to losing their chef the week before opening, but even still the small plates and dishes we shared were great. Nothing too crazy here, nothing really over the top. Simple foods with a twist to keep things interesting, and all inexpensive as well.
scotch egg | deep fried hard boiled egg wrapped in pork sausage & Irish cracker meal with sweet mustard
cheese balls | panko crusted and fried goat cheese w. onion jam, charred tomato sauce
brisket | braised beef brisket, buttermilk batter onion rings, roasted peppers & provolone on a hoagie roll, served w. braising liquid on the side
honolulu | bacon wrapped hot dog, pineapple relish & passion fruit mustard
The beer and cocktail selection follows suit along with the food: simple, unpretentious. The tap list has some gems on it but they are definitely not targeting the elite beer geek here, which is totally fine, not every place needs to. I didn’t get too crazy into the beer selection at all that night. Shared a couple of bottles for Kevin’s birthday and PBR scratched the rest of that itch.
I’ll fully admit I’m just dipping my toes into the world of cocktails, but the “shock me” was a little sweet for my tastes, and the “hangman’s blood” was a bit of a booze bomb. Your palate may feel otherwise.
I’m also getting into bourbon a bit as well, and there were a couple options that Kevin was excited for me to try. The Charbay R5 is distilled from Bear Republic Racer 5, then aged in french oak for 22 months. It has some slight citrus and tropical fruit notes in the nose from the IPA but a smooth, chocolate, malty taste. The Angel’s Envy was the port finished version, where once the bourbon is blended down, it’s finished in Portuguese ruby port barrels. Notes of vanilla, dark fruits and spice.
Overall I have to say my experience at The Shop, even while they’re still getting the hang of things, was an extremely positive one. Sure, I had some great company, but even still I can see myself heading there to BS with guys, and on the opposite side of the token wouldn’t hesitate taking a date there. Looks like they’re slated to keep all aspects of their menu interesting and it will certainly be worth a revisit. Wishing Kevin and his crew the best of luck!