The focus at City Tap House has always been the beer — with some 60 brews on tap, that much was obvious. New head chef Chad Vetter took that into consideration when updating the restaurant’s menu: You’ll still find plates that pair well with a slew of craft beers, but now you’ll find brew in the dish, not just the pint glass. Vetter spent the last few years managing five restaurants at a South Carolina resort, and his homecoming has been well received.
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In order to come up with the new menu items, did you have to drink a ton of beer?
I wouldn’t say a ton of beer. But it was nice to sample certain things and get a flavor profile. As soon as you walk into the restaurant you see this gigantic bar, and I wanted to bring that all together and also make it more approachable. Some things started with a beer and I tried to make a dish out of that. But the chicken and waffles I make, I knew right away that I wanted to use coffee stout. Growing up, we used to eat waffles without syrup. We’d put brown sugar on them and then dump coffee on top.
Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with?
It’s pretty broad, but pork. My father-in-law has a pig farm in Costa Rica and I have grown to love everything that comes from a pig.
In South Carolina you oversaw five restaurants at Sea Pines Resort. How was that?
I would say down in Sea Pines I became more of a managing type chef – I was overseeing things. They were using my recipes and my ideas, but I became less involved with the actual process.
Are you happy to be back to running just one kitchen?
I enjoy playing with food again. At Sea Pines I learned other aspects of being a chef, but it’s nice to be back in the kitchen with a knife and using my hands.
Your wife is pregnant with your first child. Congrats! Anything you want to do before parenthood officially begins?
Funny that you should ask. We just bought a house, so that kind of ties me down. I was born and raised in Levittown, so my whole family is here. It’s fun to get back and have an opportunity to be around family.
So no wild nights ahead. Is there a place you like to grab a drink after work?
Not really. I might stay [at City Tap House] for a drink with the crew, but I got a pregnant wife at home.