How many times have you visited a brewery tap room, and found the food truck fare just not enough to satiate your beer-guzzling-induced hunger pangs? Well, crave no more.
Funky Buddha is brewing up something special in the next few months, and this time it's in the kitchen. On Tuesday the South Florida brewery announced plans to add a gourmet kitchen to its Oakland Park location. Known as Craft Food Counter & Kitchen, the operation will feature gourmet-style plates served from a fast-casual "counter" inside the brewery tap room. The news comes as the brewery prepares to host its Second Annual Anniversary Festival & Block Party on May 30, which stands as one of South Florida's largest craft beer events to date.
"Funky Buddha has always been known for its culinary approach to beer, and now we’ll finally have a kitchen to match," said KC Sentz, co-owner of Funky Buddha Brewery. "The ability to incorporate quality food and beer together will complete the tap room experience for our customers."
Construction on the space is set to begin immediately, with an estimated completion in September. To execute the concept quickly, Funky Buddha Brewery has hired chef Jeff Vincent to bring the Craft Food Counter & Kitchen concept to life. A South Carolina native, Vincent arrived in South Florida to open Fort Lauderdale's Beauty & the Feast, the hotel restaurant at the Atlantic Resort & Spa. Vincent joined the Funky Buddha family in early April to help create the menu and oversee build-out plans of the kitchen space.
According to Vincent, the Craft Food Counter & Kitchen menu will be a combination of farm-to-table fare and upscale street food. Everything will be made in-house utilizing local ingredients, as well as many of the Funky Buddha brews.
Pickled vegetables, for example, will be made using only seasonal produce. Sauces, soups, and the Bavarian-style soft pretzels will be made in-house daily. The pretzels — what will be a signature item at Craft Food Counter & Kitchen — will utilize ingredients from every step in the brewing process, including spent grains in the dough, real brewer’s yeast as a leavening agent, and finished beer in a variety of housemade dipping sauces including Doc Brown whole grain mustard, a sriracha buttermilk dressing, and a red ale cheese dip.
"Funky Buddha’s unique beers are an amazing source of inspiration," said Vincent. "Getting to create dishes that will interact with these beers has got me anxious to fire up that kitchen and get cooking."
Sharable plates will be a central focus, said Vincent. Dishes include wok-blistered shishito peppers with smoked peanuts and lime pearls, and beer-battered chicken and biscuit sliders with sawmill gravy.
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More traditional pub fare will feature unique twists, such as the Mighty Tatanka burger, a blend of lean bison livened with bacon, smoked buffalo mozzarella, charred plum tomatoes, and sweet onion compote. Deviled eggs — a true Southern staple — will be accented with pancetta lardons and house-pickled okra.
The addition of Craft Food Counter & Kitchen will also allow the brewery to conduct regular beer dinners on site utilizing a full-service private room that seats 125. The space will also allow patrons to host corporate events, receptions, and private functions with a full catering menu — and plenty of beer — to match.
Craft Food Counter & Kitchen will be located at Funky Buddha Brewery and will serve lunch, happy hour, and dinner daily. Visit funkybuddhabrewery.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.