Westport now has a barbecue restaurant to call its own.
But despite the “smoked meats” in Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements’ name, the owners want it to be known as a restaurant first and foremost, one offering many great menu items, including great barbecue.
For Char Bar, they added another partner, Mitch Benjamin of the Meat Mitch barbecue sauce brand. Benjamin is providing the barbecue expertise and sauces.
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They describe Char Bar as a Southern-inspired smokehouse offering a rotating list of American craft beer, wine and bourbon.
“I think over the last decade Westport was seen as more of an entertainment district. But now it is turning into a dining destination,” Kelpe said. “We have managed to keep most of the chain restaurants out, and it is mostly independently owned restaurants with so much more character in a unique place that you can’t find anywhere else.”
On the smoked meats menu — ribs, Black Angus brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork butt, hand-cranked sausage, pulled chicken, and turkey breast. There’s also smoked jackfruit, one of the items with a skull-and-crossbones warning: these items contain no meat.
Char Bar also has a variety of Southern-inspired menu items — cornbread muffins, fried green tomatoes, lobster deviled eggs, entree salads including a smoked chicken cobb, fried chicken and waffles, Tabasco popcorn shrimp and cornmeal dusted catfish, a wood-grilled daily fresh fish, Turducken Muffuletta (with smoked turkey, duck and chicken confit), and tempura-battered Lobster Po’ Boy.
Appetizers and sides include carrot-raisin slaw, cheesy corn spoonbread, broccoli rice casserole, smoked duck gumbo, “pig tail” mac ’n’ cheese, beer battered pickles, sweet potato fries, smoked corn succotash, and kale-pecorino slaw. This weekend it will add its own version of the cheesy corn bake with roasted jalapeno and charred corn.
Desserts include a burnt pudding (butterscotch custard and fresh blackberries), sweet potato funnel cake and Velvet Elvis (banana bread-peanut butter ice cream sandwich, spiced walnuts, bananas, Cracker Jacks, hot fudge, whipped cream and a bourbon-soaked cherry).
It also will roll out a weekend Southern brunch in early 2015 that will include a burnt end Eggs Benedict, and lobster and grits, as well as a “Sunday night supper” offering hard-to-come-by broasted chicken.
Char Bar took over 7,000 square feet of the former Beaumont Club, and the partners have spent most of the year remodeling the two-level space at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave.
The decor is a play on the menu, including 144 flicker flame light bulbs in the ceiling of the lounge, vintage gas pumps converted into lighting fixtures with red and yellow bulbs that make it look like they are spewing fire, and charred woods as the bar facade.
A giant vintage carnival roulette wheel hangs over the dining area, which also has a mural of a 1950s “idyllic” suburban backyard barbecue.
Next spring, Char Bar will open what it describes one of the “largest and best beer gardens” in the Midwest, a 10,000-square-foot outdoor entertainment area with large patio bar, picnic tables, lawn croquet course, bocce court, ping-pong, “adult-size” jet airplane tire swings and outdoor fire pits.
The remaining 7,000-square-foot space that formerly held the Beaumont Club is still available.
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