Elsewhere Brewing opened in late October at the Beacon complex in Grant Park. The inviting taproom and restaurant, co-founded by husband and wife Sam and Sara Kazmer, aims to be a comfy place to hang out and sample good beer with good food.
And, despite opening during a pandemic, business has been brisk, especially on the weekends.
“We were worried that we’d have the grand opening, and then there’d be crickets,” Sara Kazmer said. But, she said, “the amount of repeat customers we’ve had on a regular basis just continues to blow our minds,” as have beer to-go sales and the walk-up carryout orders.
Elsewhere features a 10-barrel brewhouse, where award-winning brewmaster Josh Watterson is creating an impressive lineup of beers, including a West Coast IPA, an American pale ale, and some excellent European-style lagers.
Executive Chef Thomas Stewart, who recently returned to Atlanta after a long stint as the executive chef at Gianni’s at the former Versace Mansion in Miami, was tasked with developing a menu inspired by Argentinian food that includes empanadas, grilled meats, soups, salads, sandwiches and fresh pasta.
“I’ve mostly been a fine-dining chef,” Stewart said, “but Sam and Sara wanted Argentine street food, so we went from ideas and conversations to actually putting it on plates. There’s a big Argentine community in Miami. And, for one of our wedding packages, we used to do an Argentine grill menu. And, my wife is Colombian, so she really helped me out with the menu, and the South American influence.”
With empanadas as one of the mainstays of the menu, Stewart said he spent a lot of time researching and perfecting the dough, and he created a stamp for beef and veggie versions that helps speed up production.
“I probably went through four or five variations, and we finally came up with one that’s very simple,” he said. “It’s just sunflower oil, water and flour, so it’s 100% vegan. And, without the lard, it keeps better. But, empanadas are very labor-intensive. We’re going through like 1,500 a weekend, so we just fold them over and stamp them, instead of doing all the edge work.”
Fresh pasta is one of the Italian specialties Stewart developed while working at Gianni’s, and it fits with Argentinian cooking, too, he said.
“Argentine people are very proud of their Italian heritage,” he said. “So, beyond street food, we thought it would be cool to do house-made pasta and risotto, and a couple of other things that we could make with Argentine styles and flavors.”
The Italian influence also comes into play in some of Stewart’s desserts, including a beer-flavored tiramisu.
“Instead of soaking the ladyfingers in coffee, I soak them in a dark beer, and then put the mascarpone and cream on top,” Stewart said. “We also have a sweet potato cheesecake, and a regular-style South American flan, and I make all those in-house myself.”
Along with only being open a little over a month, and still tweaking things, Stewart said the biggest challenge has been adapting to doing takeout. “I’ve done a lot of tests, and took home food to go to make sure it would stand up,” he said. “It’s challenging. It’s not what chefs want to do. But, unfortunately, at this time, it has to be done, and it has to be good, and has to be worth the money. I hate to say it, because it’s overused, but it’s the new normal now.”
Alcohol: beer brewed on-premises, and cocktails
What I ordered: wild mushroom and beef empanadas; roasted butternut squash risotto; asado mixto platter, with grilled chicken, chorizo, beef, guava shrimp, sauces and fries; tiramisu, with stout-soaked lady fingers, espresso cream and shaved chocolate. It all traveled well, but the grilled meats and tiramisu were the winners.
Service options: indoor or outdoor dining; takeout; call or go online to place an order
Outdoor dining: large patio with to-go window
Mask policy: employees and customers wear masks
Address, phone: 1039 Grant St. SE, Atlanta; 770-727-0009
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays.
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