Chef Cory Burke, business partner Rob Hayes, brewer Tim Schiavone and general manager Valerie Albanese are not only the folks behind the food, drink and hospitality at Best End Brewing, but they’re responsible for much of what you see and even gather around at the new brewery restaurant.
During the long build-out of the former warehouse space in the Lee + White development in the West End, the crew broke down pallets and reclaimed steel and barn wood to use for the walls and tables, and brought in salvaged trees from North Georgia to fashion the live-edge red oak, white oak, and sycamore bar tops.
The result is a spacious dining room that resembles a German beer hall, with long communal tables, cozy nooks, a sprawling beer bar, and windows that look out on the Southwest Beltline trail. The smaller “Kitchen Table” room offers more intimate seating with what’s essentially a cocktail lounge and event space with a chef’s table facing the open kitchen. Right now, it’s decorated as a special holiday pop-up Christmas bar.
You can watch the work in the 20-barrel brewhouse and three-barrel pilot system through a bank of windows in the main dining room. Schiavone already has some 15 beers on tap, including “mainstays” such as Anxiety Pils and Man of War Vienna Lager, plus some more experimental offerings like the single malt/single hop Snacks IPA.
In addition to beer, the beverage program curated by Albanese includes a full cocktail menu, a natural wine list featuring “pet-nat” selections, and a small sake list.
From the kitchen, Burke is offering raw oysters, meat, cheese, and “smears” charcuterie boards, roti rolls, and pub grub favorites such as nachos, smoked wings, and a house double-stack burger with Muenster cheese, house pickles, mayo and lettuce, and hand-cut fries.
There also are brunch specials on the weekends, and entree specials for two, like the whole Snapper Family Meal with roti, veggies, and kimchi fried rice.
Last week, Burke, Hayes, Schiavone and Albanese sat down together at Best End to talk about the concept, and the food and drink.
“We are the West End’s first brewpub, and our concept is to combine everything we love from all of our backgrounds in one spot,” Albanese said. “So we’ve got incredible beer, and amazing, innovative food. And I have a background in culinary and beer, so I get to combine those things for the front of the house, which is really exciting for me.”
“Cory is on the food side, Tim is on the beer side, and I kind of do all the business stuff that nobody else wants to do,” Hayes said. “But the space and the concept have some meaning to me, because we really built this space out with a lot of heart and a lot of intention. The walls, the tables, the light fixtures, we all built ourselves.
“The space is extremely comfortable to be in, but it also has a look that gives tribute to the industrial history in this area, being along the Beltline, and it being an old rail line. And, of course, the crowning connection to that is the shipping container behind the bar that’s been converted into a walk-in cooler for the kegs.”
“My whole vision of food is just to have fun with it,” Burke said. “At the soul of my cooking, it’s all comfort food. I do like working with different, sometimes unfamiliar ingredients, but at the end, it is just kind of a comfortable cuisine. A lot of my background is from New England, and also Charleston, South Carolina, and both are coastal, with a heavy emphasis on fresh, local seafood. All of our oysters are fresh from Northeast purveyors, and they FedEx them to us overnight, so they’re not even a full day out of the water by the time we get them.
“But always, the thought is having the menu pair well with beer, and also cocktails and wine. I think that’s the beauty, and why I was so attracted to this project, because it’s a brewpub and not just a brewery.”
“I feel like we started off strong, but I’m looking forward to how this place is going to continue to grow,” Schiavone said. “I’ve always just wanted to be able to immerse myself in classic styles. Not our vision of beer, but what beer really, truly is. Meeting Cory, what we had in common was this idea of really bringing a brewery and restaurant together.”
1036 White St. SW, Atlanta. 470-391-0999, bestendbrewing.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Best End Brewing in West End
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