Dan Kluger's newest restaurant, port pairings and Cheez-Its

Menu Talk: Pat and Bret discuss the latest goings-on in food and drink, and feature a conversation with restaurateur Nia Grace.

This week on Menu Talk, hosted by Pat Cobe, senior menu editor of Restaurant Business, and Bret Thorn, senior food and beverage editor of Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality, we discuss the latest news in Cheez-It crackers. The snack food has partnered with Taco Bell to offer giant versions of Cheez-Its, and chef and restaurateur Dan Kluger is offering his own take at Greywind, his new restaurant near Hudson Yards in New York City.

Pat enjoyed them as part of her dinner there, and she noticed other unique aspects of the polished-casual venue. The restaurant has an in-store bakery that customers can use for grab-and-go treats over the course of the day, a smart way to make maximum use of the space. It also has a chef’s counter from which Kluger offers a tasting menu one weekend each month. Guests reserve in advance, buying tickets via Resy, just like they'd do for the theater.

Greywind also has a two-course, prix-fixe pre-theater menu, which is handy for guests enjoying performances at The Shed nearby, and it's also not too far from the city’s theater district.

Bret, meanwhile, went to Benjamin Steakhouse for a wine lunch that included vintages from a port distributor. He enjoyed the port and tonic that he and his dining companions had as a pre-lunch aperitif, and also found that port and steak, though not at all a traditional pairing, go quite well together. He suggested that restaurateurs might consider offering that pairing on top of the non-sweet wine that guests are likely to buy with a steak meal anyway. It provides something a bit out of the ordinary and could be a nice incremental sale.

Nia Grace

Nia Grace

The guest for this week is Nia Grace, who Bret interviewed about her newest restaurant Grace by Nia at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. It’s Grace’s fourth restaurant, and the second location of Grace by Nia, which she opened in partnership with Big Night Entertainment, a restaurant and club operator in Boston.

Bret quizzed Grace about how she raised capital for her first restaurant, Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, a South Boston soul food institution that has been open since 1957, and that Grace bought in 2018.

We also hear how the entrepreneurial chef infuses her family’s culinary legacy into her menus.

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Menu Talk is a collaboration between Restaurant Business Senior Menu Editor Pat Cobe and Bret Thorn, senior food and beverage editor of Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality. You can subscribe to it wherever you listen to podcasts.

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