Already known for its award-winning brews, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company could soon be just as much of a destination for its food.
Last month atse brewery unveiled its first food truck, the North Fork Test Kitchen. As GHB founder John Liegey sees it, that’s just part of the brewery’s natural progression.
“It just clicked that this would be a great way to get food introduced the way [chef Brian Russell] and the brewery have been talking about,” said Liegey. “Come up with a menu that would pair well with the beer and really push the flavors you’d experience to another level.”
The man responsible for those flavors is Chef Brian Russell, who before coming to the North Fork, worked with celebrity Mario Batali as well as at “Eataly” in Manhattan.
“Everything on the truck is food that I enjoy eating while out with my friends,” said Russell. “The poutine’s awesome. I traveled through Montreal for a while and that’s basically the national drinking food over there. With waffle fries, turkey gravy and mozzarella cheese curds, it’s a really fun dish, easily shared by two people and pairs very well with our Harbor Ale.”
Then there are the “Bao Buns,” which are already popular with customers.
“There’s the pork belly buns with pickled cucumber and sriarcha mayo. They’re fun, very flavorful and pair specifically well with our Otherside IPA,” Russell said. “The other bun is a Crescent Farm duck confit, cooked in its own fat and put on a steamed bun with fermented kimchi that we are pairing with our Little Park IPA.”
If you are thinking that poutine and bao buns don’t sound like typical beer food, Russell says that’s exactly the point.
“Brewing these beers hands on, I realized that a lot of our beers are very bold and stand out, so they really need foods that hold up next to them,” he said. “That’s why the chili on the menu has the black duck porter in it. I’ve been pairing food with beer for over 10 years. Something like the fried chickpeas, which I put on the menu for vegetarians and vegans, is better then popcorn and goes well with four of our beers. You can eat those with anything.”
But according to Liegey, there is more to the North Fork Test Kitchen food truck then just feeding hungry beer fans on weekends.
“We are adding a new space to the side of the tasting room in Peconic, a restaurant space which will become North Fork Test Kitchen,” said Liegey. “We’re hoping to have that operational by the spring and once that comes online, Brian will run that and the truck will take on more of a back-up role for events and different things we have going on through the year.”
So will Greenport Harbor Brewing Company food one day be as popular as its brews?
“Absolutely,” said Russell. “John, [co-owner] Rich [Vandenburgh] and the team have for over six years put a ton of effort into making sure that the beer side is dialed in and exceptional. With the restaurant coming in the spring, I want to and am going to put in just as much effort, so they balance each other out, just like one complete package.”
The North Fork Test Kitchen food truck is now open Thursday through Sunday at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Peconic location at 42155 Main Road.
Thursday hours are noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday are noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.
For more information please visit greenportharborbrewing.com.