American Tavern’s Chef Joey talks real food
By Beth Volpert Johansen
American Tavern’s Chef Joey Holmes’ presence at American Tavern makes diners do a doubletake to look for hidden cameras filming a reality tv show about the next best restaurant.
He not only looks and talks the part, he IS the embodiment of creative, delicious comfort dishes sure to please any palate. If you haven’t been to American Tavern in a while, be certain to put it on your dining list for the very near future. There really are no hidden cameras...but there should be!
“I came in as a partner four years ago,” says Joey. “My partner, Jim McCarthy, and I found out that we both had the same passion for a higher end comfort food.” Joey says that some might call it a version of soul food, but the results of their combined efforts have won over a steady daytime and evening clientele.
Joey is a local who grew up watching his grandmother bring food from the garden into the kitchen where she performed what a young child might consider magic. By the time collards, carrots, potatoes, and other fresh seasonal vegetables were placed on the table alongside meatloaf, chicken, or roast, Joey was plenty hungry. On the other hand, Jim is from “up North”. When the pair blend their Northern and Southern culinary backgrounds, a uniquely delicious infusion of taste and presentation results. “At American Tavern, the food is genuine,” says Joey. “We both bring our best to the plate.”
With a farm-to-table upbringing, Joey reaches for the freshest vegetables and creates sauces to order. The team prides itself on using quality and readily available ingredients when creating specials. One of their most recently developed recipes, Irish Pot Roast, combines sirloin and ribeye cuts over a garlic asiago mash and Texas toast. It is served with sauteed cabbage, Bermuda onions, red peppers and whole carrots topped off with a Guinness-Mushroom gravy.
Customers on Tuesday nights can look forward to an ever changing menu priced at $5. “You can’t beat that price at home for what I can offer,” says Joey who loves the challenge of providing a tasty meal at a value price. “You can’t get that at a fast food place.”
A testament to American Tavern’s place in the community can be seen in the booths still occupied at 2:30 in the afternoon by local business owners who regularly meet for a bite to eat. “Some of our regulars have custom orders that I know to start making the second they walk in the door,” says Joey. “I live for the creative aspect of providing a great meal for my patrons.”
Sunday’s find the crowd just a little bit different and the chefs pay close attention to what their customers want. “We have AYCE fish and shrimp on Sundays,” says Joey. “We also offer a Southern fried chicken steak with sawmill gravy that we have perfected.” All of the fried offerings are carefully hand-breaded for a full crunch with every bite.
“We want to do food like no one else,” says Joey. American Tavern offers a twist on comfort food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, regionally inspired specials and carefully chosen hand cut steaks. “We invite everyone to join us at American Tavern for a taste of our northern/southern infused specials and traditional favorites.”
Check out the American Tavern Facebook page for more information and upcoming events.