Over the last 18 months, 312 Poyntz Avenue has been transformed from a loan office into the latest addition of downtown district set to open soon: the restaurant Bourbon & Baker.
When you walk inside, you will see a custom wallpaper of family recipes, embodying the roots and inspiration behind the restaurant. With several booths, bar seating, communal tables and traditional hightop seating, the restaurant will be able to seat 80 guests in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
“We want guests to come in and have fun, be relaxed and comfortable,” said Evan Grier, owner of Harry’s and the new owner of Bourbon & Baker. "We’re taking what Harry’s has built a reputation on, which is our food quality and our service quality, and applying it in a much more causal environment.”
The restaurant will feature a unique style of food, which can best be described as Southern and Midwestern comfort foods with a flair to Manhattan. With smaller menu items, such as truffle popcorn and southern sushi rolls, the restaurant is bringing several unique dishes to Manhattan. In addition to the smaller portioned items, the menu also includes five family-style dishes, such as fried chicken, meant to be shared with four people.
Menu prices average at about $6-7, which Grier said will be attractive to the college students as well as the greater Manhattan community.
“I want students to feel like they can come down here and have a fun place to come and hang out, try some really good food that comes from professional culinary team, have some cocktails and not feel like they are out of pocket,” Grier said.
Paired with the unique food is an equally unique bar menu. With Bourbon being a key feature of the restaurant, the full bar will feature over 70 different varieties. Also unique to Bourbon & Baker— two wines and a cocktail on tap.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight on weeknights and from 11 a.m to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The bakery, located in the back of the restaurant, will be open from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The bakery will not only produce fresh breads for both Bourbon and Harry’s, but will also feature daily offerings of cakes, cookies and brownies available for purchase.
“Little by little we’re developing a little bit dining district down here, which will be great for Manhattan because there’s going to be two substantial dining districts in town: Aggieville and Downtown,” Grier said. “We’re excited for that.”
With the addition of Bourbon & Baker, as well as 4 Olives, Hibachi Hut and the newest Karnivore BBQ, the downtown community is continuing to grow. Grier said he was not at all nervous about the competition, but excited about the growth of the downtown community.
“Since I mostly go downtown to shop right now, I am excited to see a new restaurant opening,” Dana Hilton, junior in secondary education, said. “It opens up more restaurant options outside of Aggieville."
For Grace Stanfield, lifelong Manhattan resident and junior in entrepreneurship who plans on opening her own bakery, Bourbon & Baker is an exciting new addition to the downtown community.
“Currently, there is no market for locally owned bakeries in Manhattan, so it will be interesting to see how Manhattan responds to this new restaurant and bakery,” Stanfield said. “Bourbon & Baker has a unique opportunity to set the bar really high.”
Grier hopes that the environment , food, prices and atmosphere will provide residents with a new place to enjoy.
“We’re taking the table linens off and turning the music up,” Grier said.