Peter Morales is counting on the West Palm Beach scene heating up. The former Miami resident is so bullish on the area that he decided to take up residence in West Palm Beach and accept an offer to head up the kitchen at Barrel & Grain.
The gastropub, which opened this past spring, needed a revamp of its menu, and Morales, an alum of some of Miami's hottest restaurants, like Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, and Swine Southern Table & Bar, saw a golden opportunity to put his stamp on the project.
The talented chef, who specializes in good, old-fashioned comfort food with a modern twist, reworked the restaurant's slightly schizo bar menu that featured "upscale food truck fare with a multicultural twist" and gave the offerings more cohesiveness -- gone are the fried cheese sticks, and the bahn mi tacos are replaced with pulled pork tacos with watermelon radish ($12).
The menu now features Southern favorites like catfish and grits ($16), a half-chicken with house-made tasso ham and cornbread stuffing ($18), and slow and low braised pork shoulder with black-eyed pea succotash ($16).
Bar snacks and appetizers meant to go with the restaurant's extensive beer selection includes deviled eggs with bacon bits ($5); black-eyed pea fritters ($6); and jo-jo's ($6).
We spoke with chef Morales, who told us why he made the move from Miami to West Palm Beach and what plans he has for Barrel & Grain: