Back in 2016, restaurateur-chef Todd Hogan opened swanky Indigo in the historic downtown Crabapple area of Milton. It quickly became a go-to destination for special occasion dining. But relying solely on visits for birthdays and anniversaries is hardly sustainable. Hogan decided to mix things up, going from special occasion to every occasion. Enter Duke’s Bar & Grill, which debuted this summer.
“The motivation to re-brand was simple,” said Hogan. “Indigo was identified as a special occasion restaurant early on. That is not what we wanted. We want to see friends and families daily.”
To facilitate the transformation to everyday dining, he gave the space a makeover, incorporating rustic decor, whimsical signage and oversized elements like a giant red parrot that hovers over a corner booth with a Jimmy Buffet sign. The casual and sophisticated combine for a unique vibe.
Duke’s Bar & Grill is open daily at 11 a.m., serving lunch and dinner. The revamped menu offers several items diners might recognize from the Indigo menu, such as the popular Brussels sprouts starter, updated with a barbecue aioli, as well as lobster poppers. But for the most part, the refreshed menu focuses on casual eats such as ribs, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and Southern-style dishes like fried chicken and mac-n-cheese. Here are a few you don’t want to miss:
Southern fried chicken sandwich
Between a whopping dollop of delectable pimento cheese and strips of peppered bacon, this sandwich will satisfy your salty cravings and leave you wondering how you possibly devoured the whole thing so quickly. Order it with the onion rings (be forewarned, they have a slightly spicy after-taste; go with the French fries if you’re heat-averse).
Served piping hot in a cast-iron skillet, the spicy jalapeno mac-n-cheese makes for a great side dish to share. It has just enough heat to add a kick to each bite without overwhelming the creamy, cheesy goodness we expect and love from this Southern staple.
“Duke’s Favorite” cowboy rubbed and braised beef short rib
Extra-hungry diners might want to order the big ol’ “Duke’s Favorite” cowboy rubbed and braised beef short rib. This massive slab of meat falls apart easily and comes with a helping of mashed sweet potatoes and simple green beans. It’s hearty, belly-warming and will remind you of eating a home-cooked meal at your nana’s.
If you manage to save a little room for dessert (which you definitely should), consider sampling the blondie-brownie tort, which is served with a scoop of bourbon ice cream. The best way to eat it: spoon a bit of the blondie, a sliver of the brownie and a dip of the ice cream all into one flavor-packed bite.
Love something on the menu or want to see a specific item added to the rotation? Tell the chef! “I ask a ton of questions to our guest[s] and I value their opinion,” Hogan adds. “So, if you’re a regular at Duke’s, please let me know what you love, but more importantly, let me know what you would love to see on the menu.”
Duke’s Bar & Grill. 12635 Crabapple Road, Milton, 770-674-7671, facebook.com/ChefToddHoganIndigo.
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