Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse: It's exactly because "different" isn't the "same."

Dinner menu at Bank Street Brewhouse tonight ... and a special Elector.

Now that the Bank Street Brewhouse is operational, at least on the front end, I hope that there’ll be time to return this blog to its original purpose. Primarily, this means me writing about anything I damn well please, with a general connection to beer and brewing, and to my place as a habituĂ© of this wonderful world.

The first days of Bank Street have been incredible, and yet there’s something I need to get off my chest.

I told you it was going to be different!

Some of you should have listened to me. I spoke of shifting paradigms and drmatic reinventions, and you somehow thought I was joking or playing games.

Remember: I don’t play games. Ever. As a voyeur, I might watch them ... but not play them.

Way back in 1992, many of my friends doubted that a true specialty beer establishment could survive in New Albany. I was serious then, too. Hopefully the results over 17 years speak for themselves.

Now that we’ve embarked upon a major company expansion, one that involves a fairy radical new concept of what we as a company can be, especially when it comes to Chef Josh’s incredible cuisine, it’s useful for me to remember that not everyone is going to see it that way, even some of those who should know better. That’s okay. I’ll just have to work a bit harder to prove it to you.

I’m largely untroubled beyond feeling a natural disappointment that everyone might not see the future as clearly as I do, but that’s part of the game. We are going to be compelled to explain ourselves and the mission, and that’s necessary. I welcome it.

After we’ve explained ourselves and offered a completely new, unique experience in downtown New Albany as a damned fine brewery that does some damned fine food – that both “feeds the people” in a sense, but more importantly educates them by challenging preconceived notions of the heights to which beer and food can aspire – there’ll be a percentage that still disagrees.

So be it, and that’s okay, too. All anyone can do is their best, and so far, we are doing just that. Once the brewery is on line, it'll be better.

The original pub and pizzeria off Grant Line remain intact, and the combined weight of the beer program (NABC and guests) and traditional pizza-based menu is the same as it ever was. That’s purely intentional. Downtown, we’re going to make the point that fresh, locally sourced food prepared with consummate skill by an creative, ambitious young chef and his crew, and (once the brewing system is operative) paired with consistently excellent local craft beers, is a viable, complementary option. There may well prove to be an entirely new crowd for such a fusion, and in fact, we’re counting on it.

Yes, it’s true: I suffered a bit of rejection’s sting last night. It’s also true that dounbters always stoke my competitive spirit. That’s the way it worked in 1992, and the way I hope it remains.


antzman said...

The preview of the dinner menu I had last night (Scallops) were excellent. If they are any indication of what you all have coming with the full menu, I don't think you will have any issues. We live in an area where acceptance of change is slow, but based on the 3 times that I have stopped in the brewhouse, it looks like you have a lot of acceptors already. The brewhouse is as different from Rich O's as can be. I enjoy both places, and prefer the differences. Keep up the great work and people will continue to come.

Iamhoosier said...

You mention "rejection's sting".


The New Albanian said...

There were negative comments from a quarter that I'd not expected.

Iamhoosier said...

Well, screw 'em. I like the place and that's all that matters.


The Original BBC Brewmaster said...

What iamhoosier said. There was a homebrewer in here picking up yeast the other day that said "I can't believe BSB doesn't even have chix wings". This was right after telling me about drinking BBC APA at the C-ville B-dubs. There is no accounting for taste, class or vision. Stay the course brother. We're with you all the way.

The New Albanian said...

Thanks. I've been through it before, after all -- 1992 (3,4,5) all over again. It makes me stubborn.

The Original BBC Brewmaster said...

Although you've been at it since 1992 this is your first start-up from scratch. I think you are feeling the same emotions all start-ups feel. I remember when the Silo opened; all the blood, sweat and tears we all put into the opening only to hear us be labeled as a "fern bar" because of the owners choice of greenery.