Articles On The Town

Bar None- Fantastic Dining In Fenton

The bar has been raised lately on Fenton’s dining scene, literally and figuratively. The latest additions to the long menu of great food destinations there have shown to be an enlightened take on pub fare. The days of a greasy burger and fried bologna sandwich to accompany your PBR are long gone. Take a seat at any of Fenton’s newest bars and you are more likely to find organic beef and craft beer.

The Barn was the first on the scene back in 2015. Following a long overdue renovation of the

former Mo Doggies space at North and Torrey Roads. Owner Jason Warda introduced the area to his take on casual coastal inspired fare. The menu is an updated approach to typical pub grub. Updated and innovated is more like it. Appetizers are interesting twists on familiar flavors. Tater tots and spicy buffalo sauce merge together in their Buffalo Blue Tater Balls.  A crowd favorite like mozzarella sticks gets an overhaul by way of hand battered 100% real mozzarella cheese squares accompanied by a spicy California ranch sauce, knows as “Square Tails” on the Barn’s Menu.

It’s been said that the true measure of any bar, pub, tavern etc. can be evaluated by the quality of their hamburger. The Barn does not disappoint. Focusing on quality, they craft all of their burgers from Certified Piedmontese Beef. This breed of cow, originating in Northwest Italy, produces an especially tender, lean and flavorful beef. “I wanted to focus on fresh healthy options for bar food to go along with our California theme,” added Warda. “Peidmontese is just that, a healthier option for beef. Trying to make our dishes from scratch and using the best ingredients I could use also helps.”

The Barn’s location make it a perfect stop for a host of regular customers. “The volleyball and skating have helped a lot,” said Warda. “Really made us a destination.” He mentioned that they will be installing a refrigerated curling rink to add to the unique entertainment options available to their customers. “Great way for people to get out and active and meet new people,” he says.

Situated in a storefront space just outside the city limits is The Corner Bar & Grill. In the late summer of 2015 owner Justin Knight entered the local restaurant scene with a new concept for the former Raymo’s space. The menu is short on offerings but long on taste. Self proclaimed to be “Fenton’s rock’n’roll gastro pub” they focus on offering a curated selection of craft beer from around the country, a full bar and a menu that packs bold flavors into each and every selection.

A crowd favorite, the Ribeye Nacho, is perfect for sharing with the whole table, or hoarding for yourself. It’s an amazing amalgamation of shaved meat and cheese atop house made tortilla chips. A great twist, that most kitchens don’t take the time to perfect, is the offering of house made potato chips with the burgers and sandwiches. For another option though you can enjoy rosemary fries with your meal. The bright, fresh herb-tossed French fries are the perfect addition to their meaty hamburgers. “We have got a great team that makes all that magic happen,”  added Knight. “He [Chef Justin] is very meticulous with everything and has done great with bringing a high standard with his recipes. He really has raised the bar on bar food”

The Corner Bar’s weekend brunch is well worth the agony of getting out of bed early on Saturday or Sunday. “I highly recommend the Breakfast Hash, it’s one of my favorites,” said Knight. “Chef Justin makes his own Chorizo that is fantastic.  You also cannot go wrong with the Chicken and Waffles.”

The enthusiasm for hand crafted cocktails and the resurgence of prohibition era classic cocktail recipes has not been overlooked in Fenton. In august of 2016 drinkers and diners alike were pleased to be introduced to two new concepts on Mill Street; although housed in an otherwise nondescript building. The team behind the Laundry, Crust and Lynchpin Beer Company has yet again made a resounding impact on the area’s dining scene.

Venerable Laundry Barman John Foley was tapped to curate a very ambitious menu of both classic and original cocktails for The Relief & Resource Co. Meanwhile, the Laundry’s long celebrated Executive Chef, Jody Brunori took on the task of penning two new menus. Brunori’s double work load is the result  of the clever marriage of a traditional taco stand, El Topo and a discrete speakeasy, The Relief & Resource Co.

El Topo, located streetside, is the front for Fenton’s only blind pig (…that the author knows of). A succinct menu of traditional Latin American street food features creative yet approachable tacos and snacks. The “Vieja Escuela”, or “old school” taco featuring ground beef and traditional accompaniments is available for the less adventurous. While the Al Pastor or Pork Belly Arepa featuring crisp pork belly, pickled onions and Cojita cheese are perfect for a late night bold “fourth-meal”.

While Brunori is busy distracting the authorities with her mesmerizing menu of tacos Foley holds down the bar in the back of the building. “The cocktail menu specializes in a larger style range of cocktails and will probably represent a greater focus on prep, obscure liquors and ancient drinks than The Laundry,” said Foley.
The Relief & Resource Co. is an intimate space with low light and cozy seating. “The new space certainly affords a greater opportunity for creativity, as we are only open for one service a day, versus the breakfast/lunch/dinner environment at The Laundry,” added Foley. A menu of small plates and rotating selection of artisan cheese and Charcuterie are perfect for sharing with friends. Though, how you get from one space to the other is better left to be discovered by the reader than explained in some “canned” magazine feature.  

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of On The Town Magazine

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