Out with the old & in with the older: Black Powder Tavern comes to Valley Forge

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In between Family & Friends and Media Night, Black Powder Tavern's most important team members—the chef and the wine, beer and spirits director—sat down with the warden ettinger group for a sneak peek at the new restaurant concept. We're now into weekend two, and so far it's thumbs up for the craft beer selection, sophisticated pub fare and building/interior renovations.

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Out with the old & in with the older: Black Powder Tavern comes to Valley Forge

  1. 1. Start  your  taste  buds;  Black  Powder  Tavern  is  officially  open  for  business.  Not   sure  what  all  the  fuss  is  about?  Read  on  and  you’ll  start  to  get  a  flavor  for  this  “revolutionary”   eatery’s  Craft  American  Fare.  Better  yet,  join  us  at  the  bar,  or  in  the  dining  room,  where  the   “live”  aromas,  texture-­‐  and  color-­‐rich  plates,  lively  tavern  vibe,  and  warm  woods  and  hues   will  surely  get  your  attention—and  your  culinary  engine  revving.    As  will  this  inside  look     from  Mark  Porcaro  and  Manuel  “Manny”  Sevilla,  the  lead  team  behind  Black  Powder’s  food   and  drink…       What  about  the  menu  most  excites  you?     Chef  Mark  Porcaro  (MP):  I  like  the  fact  that  we’ve   created  dishes  that  are  meant  for  sharing.  All  the   menu  items  have  such  great  (&  different)  flavor   profiles,  that  from  a  culinary  perspective,  a  Black   Powder  dining  experience  will  always  be  exciting.   We’ve  also  provided  a  large  variety  of  tasty  vegetable   offerings  for  those  who  are  health-­‐conscious,  which  is   great.         …and  the  top  3  things  guests  should  try  when  they  come  in  for  the  first  time?   MP:  That’s  a  tough  one.  I’d  have  to  go  with  the  craft  beers,  French  onion  dumplings  and  ham  sandwich.   Actually,  that  would  make  a  perfect  meal!  (Our  ham  is  an  Italian  rosemary  and  peppercorn  type  of   prosciutto  that  is  absolutely  delicious.)     How  have  local  food  and  drink  trends  influenced  the  new  menu?     MP:  The  focus  on  craft  beers  and  brown  liquors—especially  bourbon—was  definitely  inspired  by  what   we’ve  seen  locals  gravitating  towards.  As  for  the  food,  these  days,  people  (here  and  everywhere)  seem   to  like  the  small  plates/sharing  concept.  We  like  it,  because  when  guests  come  in,  they  can  compose   their  meal  experience  any  way  they  want.  Only  up  for  an  entrée  salad?  Fine.  Prefer  three  small  plates?   Do  it.       Will  you  be  incorporating  locally  grown  and  produced  ingredients?  If  so,  which  farms  and  purveyors   can  guests  look  forward  to  "tasting"?   MP:  Yes,  the  list  will  keep  growing,  but  for  now,  we’re  using  honey  from  Drapers  Super  Bee  Apiaries   Inc.  in  Millerton,  PA,  all  of  our  ice  creams  are  from  Franklin  Fountain,  and  our  burger  buns  are  made  at   Conshohocken  Bakery.  Some  of  our  produce  also  comes  to  us  from  local  farms.       How  kid-­‐friendly  is  the  menu?     MP:  Very.  $8  gets  you  an  entrée  (choices  include  grilled  salmon  and  other  items  not  typically  seen  on   kids  menus),  veggies,  dessert  and  a  beverage.  Kids  will  also  receive  Highlights  activity  sheets.     Will  anything  be  gluten-­‐free?     MP:  Yes.  In  fact,  we  will  have  a  separate  gluten-­‐free  menu  (made  of  items  from  the  regular  menu).  Off   the  top  of  my  head,  some  of  our  best  gluten-­‐free  items  include  the  trout  deviled  eggs,  cedar  plank   salmon,  bacon-­‐wrapped  dates  and  most  of  our  vegetable  dishes.      
  2. 2. What  is  your  favorite  dish  on  the  menu?     MP:  For  dinner,  my  go-­‐to  would  be  the  veal  or  chicken  burger,  but  I  also  love  the  meatballs.  If  we’re   talking  late  night  snack,  I’m  all  about  the  cambozola  cheese.       Will  you  be  designing  new  menu  items  throughout  the  year?   MP:  Yes,  seasonal  changes  will  be  incorporated  into  the  menu  throughout  the  year.       How  will  you  incorporate  some  of  the  flavors  from  the  wine  and  spirits  selection  into  the  food?     MP:  The  best  way…  We’re  making  beer-­‐battered  fish  with  locally-­‐brewed  suds.  Delicious!       Who  created  the  desserts?  Which  is  your  favorite?   MP:  I  created  the  desserts  for  Black  Powder  Tavern.  My  favorite,  hands  down,  is  the  whipped  ricotta   made  with  local  honey,  roasted  almonds  and  pizzelles.  The  milkshakes  are  pretty  sweet  (pun  intended)   too.  Franklin  Fountain  in  Philly  makes  some  killer  ice  cream.         What  is  the  main  food  experience  that  you'd  like  diners  to  walk  away  with?     MP:  We  hope  customers  will  want  to  come  back  again  and  again  to  try  new  things  and  that  they  feel   the  cuisine  at  Black  Powder  Tavern  is  anything  but  ordinary.         And  now,  let’s  talk  drinks…     What  are  some  of  the  "hidden  gem"  wines  on  your  list?   Manuel  “Manny”  Sevilla  (MS):  I’m  a  big  fan  of  the  Angeline  Sauvignon  Blanc  (a  specialty  item  that’s   not  sold  in  the  state  store)  and  the  Crusher  Merlot.  I  really  like  the  look  of  our  current  list,  because  the   bulk  of  our  wines  are  from  the  U.S.—mainly  California,  Washington  and  Oregon.       What  about  the  bourbons,  scotches,  et  al?   MS:  We  have  a  large  spread  of  bourbons  and  scotches.  And,  the  thing  that’s  cool  about  our  selection  is   that  we  list  the  flavor  profiles  and  smelling  notes  of  each  varietal.  This  way,  people  who  aren’t  as  into   the  brown  liquors  can  have  a  better  idea  of  what  they  might  like.       What  local  brews  will  be  featured  on  draught?   MS:  Currently  we’re  offering  Victory  (Light  Beer),  Yards  (Pilsner),  Sly  Fox  (Light  Beer),  Troegs  (Pilsner),   Stone  (Pilsner),  Flying  Fish  (Pilsner),  Stoudt’s  (Pilsner)  and  Yuengling  (Lager).       How  frequently  will  drafts  be  rotated?     MS:  As  soon  as  a  keg  is  kicked,  it  will  be  rotated  for  something  else.  There  will  always  be  something   new  “on  deck”  for  the  9  beers  that  are  in  rotation.         Will  there  be  any  suggested  beer  pairings  as  part  of  the  overall  menu?   MS:  Most  definitely.  Our  staff  will  be  well  versed  on  all  of  our  beer  selections  and  suggested  pairings  at   all  times.  That  said,  the  suggested  pairings  likely  will  not  be  written  directly  on  the  menu.       Will  you  be  hosting  any  meet-­‐the-­‐brewer  nights?     MS:  Yes,  we  will  definitely  be  working  with  the  brewers  to  host  beer  dinners.  We  are  currently  working   with  Sam  Adams  to  host  an  event  and  will  be  working  with  Lancaster  Brewing  before  the  year  is  over.  
  3. 3. What  specialty  cocktails  will  you  offer  this  fall?   MS:  The  full  list  is  available  here.  One  standout  for  me  is  the  Barron  Von  Stuben  “Kentucky  Waffle,”   which  is  bourbon,  fresh  lemon  juice,  maple  syrup,  apple  cider  and  a  cinnamon  stick.  The  Dark  &  Stormy   is  also  great  for  fall:  Meyer’s  dark  rum,  fresh  lime,  ginger  beer,  candied  ginger  and  a  lime  garnish.       Will  you  be  hosting  any  meet-­‐the-­‐distiller  events?   MS:  We’ve  formed  a  great  relationship  with  Philadelphia  Distilling  and  many  of  our  cocktails  feature   their  spirits,  so  I’m  sure  we’ll  be  partnering  on  a  few  special  events  with  them.         What  types  of  "flights"  will  the  bar  offer?     MS:  Right  now  we  are  offering  beer  and  wine.         What  kind  of  "vibe"  is  Black  Powder  going  for  in  its  decor,  crowd  it  hopes  to  attract?     MS:  We’re  hoping  to  attract  people  who  like  craft  food  and  beer  (and  think  it’s  cool  to  be  in  an   atmosphere  where  they  feel  like  they  have  stepped  back  in  time).  Black  Powder  Tavern  should  feel   comfortable;  like  a  place  where  people  want  to  hang  out  for  a  while  and  share  experiences  with  friends.   We  already  have  a  great  gathering  of  customers  who  have  been  with  us  enjoying  this  place  for  the  last   15  years.  It’s  very  important  to  us  to  keep  them  happy,  too.         Will  there  be  any  wine  promotions?   MS:  Yes,  we  will  have  Wine  Wednesdays  where  specialty-­‐marked  bottles  will  be  ½-­‐off  all  day  and  night.       What  about  Happy  Hour?   MS:  Happy  hour  will  be  Monday  through  Friday  from  5-­‐7PM,  and  we’ll  also  have  late  night  happy  hour   Thursday,  Friday  and  Saturday  evenings  from  9-­‐10PM.              

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