NEWBURYPORT – Cold beer and hot links; branded buns and lots of fun; an owner who knows the business and a chef who knows barbecue. If you are looking for a place that brings it when it comes to food and mood, look no further than Brick and Ash.
Located in Newburyport, Brick and Ash is a two-tiered restaurant in a cool space that dates back to the early 1800s.
“It’s fun pub food. A little inventive, little bit of something for everybody,” said owner Laura Wolfe. “Upstairs is the main dining room, and then in another room we have pool tables, dart boards, big fireplace, just a really nice place to hang out.”
Laura is the restaurateur behind places like The Cottage in Wellesley and The Poynt in Newburyport. With this latest addition to her restaurant resume, Laura wanted to open a place with a playful vibe and fun food, so she enlisted Executive Chef Dan Miele to create a line up comfort food classics that will bring you back.
“What we set out to do is just remind people of their childhood, and who doesn’t like that? We like to make food that makes people happy,” Dan said. “You could eat and you could end up hanging out for two or three hours after in the game room, playing pool, playing darts. I really think we’ve got a little bit of everything for everyone.”
Before you break out your pool “cue”, you should bust into some barbe“cue”- all cooked low and slow out back in the outdoor smoker.
“They can go anywhere from 12 to 20 hours in the cooker,” Laura explained. “A lot of them are dry rubbed and then we’ll add some sauce afterwards. A good part of our menu has to do with barbecue.”
You can opt for St. Louis Style Ribs, smoked for six hours and brushed with a Memphis barbecue sauce, or go with Dan’s pick and get the 16-hour brisket.
“To me it’s the quintessential barbecue food,” he said. “It’s got a great smoke ring around it. It’s very tender; it’s very juicy.”
If you want some of the barbecue goodness between a bun, order the Pulled Pork Sandwich.
“You get the earthiness of the pretzel roll on the outside with the smoky vinegariness of the pork, and then our creamy coleslaw on it as well and our spicy house made pickles,” Chef Dan listed. “You’re getting just layers and layers of flavor with a smoked background to it.”
For some more south in your mouth, Brick and Ash offers some of the tastiest fried chicken on the North Shore, served boneless so it is easy to eat.
“You get the crunch of that coating on the outside. You get the moist, tender meat inside. We chose not to do bones with it just so it’s a little bit easier,” Laura said. “It’s summer on a plate, because it comes with potato salad and corn on the cob and you can get corn bread or biscuits with it. It’s just down home Southern style fried chicken.”
If you do want your chicken on the bone, head to the appetizer section of the menu where you can find Garlic Chili Wings. These are not your average sports bar starter; they are served with a mango habanero sauce and Asian veggie slaw that customers can’t get enough of.
Other inventive apps include indulgent Poutine chock full of cheese curds and smothered in gravy; house made Sausage Links presented on a board with a zippy whole grain mustard; and Avocado Yogurt Dip – a smooth refreshing spin on guacamole.
Whether you are just having a beer at the bar or a full meal at a table, an order of Bacon Cheddar Popcorn is a must.
“What is better than bacon on anything?” Laura asked. “We put it with some cheese on the popcorn, so we have this lovely little sort of bar-bites. If you’re having a terrific beer and you get the popcorn with it, it’s really just a nice little munchy to kind of pass the night away.”
The comfort food classics continue right through the menu, with a soothing bowl of creamy fontina and smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, Crispy Fried Shrimp Tacos, and a Burger that will leave you breathless.
“We actually do two patties on our burger that we griddle right on the flattop with onions into it. It gets our take on a Thousand Island sauce on it, with a branded potato roll, shredded lettuce, tomato, and American cheese,” Chef Dan described. “It’s simple and it’s kind of like the burger that you grew up eating.”
If you really want to get nostalgic, you can order it with a side of tots.
While it is hard not to nibble on just about everything, being back in the kitchen and making people happy with his food is something Chef Dan truly loves.
“I love the fast pace. I love it when the team clicks and everything’s going good and everybody’s there to serve great food to people and make people happy.”
You can find Brick & Ash at 10 Center Street in Newburyport, and online at brickandash.com.
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