Mike Welsh, formerly of the scene-changing, speakeasy-style Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Rittenhouse, is going north for his next venture:Brick& Mortar is opening soon in the Goldtex apartment building at 315 N.12th St.
We spoke with Welsh for a preview of what to expect at his new spot.
You’re calling it an “American tavern.” What does that mean?
To me, an American tavern isquaint, sociable, neighborhood-y — people come in and feel comfortable. It feels like it’s been there forever.
How about the look? Will it look like it’s been there forever?
When we leased the space, it was very raw. Very industrial; a lot of concrete. The building itself has gone though different phases, and what we tried to do is infuse some of the different aspects and time periods of what the space was, but add the comfortable feel of what our interpretation of an American tavern is.
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Who do you picture hanging out atBrick& Mortar?
The Loft District is really a Center City commuters neighborhood. A lot of the people living there are walking, or driving, to work in Center City. I think we’ll capture a lot of that audience —people would might usually stay in Center City to dine and have drinks can now come home to he neighborhood they live in for that, because there’s a full service restaurantthat can satisfy their needs.
And those people are probably going to have certain expectations based on the Franklin.
Based on my history, I think people are going to expect that that part of the beverage program [craft cocktails] is going to be excellent. And it absolutely will. But we’re going to have a lot of different options — draft wines, draft craft beers, a bottled cocktail program.
What will the bottled cocktail program entail?
We’ll probably open with three different bottle cocktails — we pre-mix them, then carbonate them in kegs, then put them into small champagne bottles and cap them. Then it becomes as if you have a coke bottle or a beer bottle: The server will pop the lid off, pour over ice, and you have an effervescent cocktail. It’s about speed of service. You get the same quality, but quicker.
Will that concept carry over to the food menu too?
We want to take care of a large, different population — a guy who wants to sit at the bar and have a snack, to a traditional diner who wants a traditional style of service. We’ll have a “bites” list, up to rotisseries, cooked slow and low. The menu is built around making sure people can come in a couple times a week and have a choice and be comfortable with what they’re spending.
Chef Brian Ricci is heading up the kitchen at Brick & Mortar. The menu is broken up into bites, smalls, mediums and large. Here’s an advance look at a few items that caught our eye:
• Tandoor pork loin with paprika, ginger, garlic, yogurt and lime
• Tomato curry rock shrimp with tamarind, watercress and lime
• Buckwheat linguine with kale pesto, Parmesan and chilis
• Spit-roasted lamb with rosemary, lemon and garlic