Hot to Trot
Craigie’s chef taps into grill love
Tony Maws has put a lot of thought into Kirkland Tap & Trotter. He’s thought of the effect it will have on his first restaurant, Craigie on Main: “(Craigie) is my baby.” He’s mulled over the location, just outside Inman Square: “I spent a large part of my childhood in Somerville.” He’s focused on how customers can see the bar, grill and kitchen all from their seats: “You’ll have different experiences depending on how close you are.” And he’s dreamed up the quintessential hot dog: “It’ll have the same philosophy as the burger.”
But when Maws spells out his philosophy for Kirkland, due to open in the first week of September, it seems like—despite all his thought—it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
“It’s going to have a big grill. It’s going to have more draft lines. I don’t want to say communal. We’re not trying to do that thing, but it feels like a great, big public house,” Maws says of the open space that will have brick and exposed ceilings. “It’s going to be good in the beginning, but I can’t wait till it ages. At Craigie on Main, I freak out when a table gets scratched; here I can’t wait for the tables to be scratched.”
Maws, whose Craigie on Main is synonymous with tasting menus, white tablecloths and event dining, is going to be a guy with a grill. But he’s hardly new to the setting, having worked the grill station for Chris Schlesinger and Mark Miller. The menu will have entrees primarily in the low- to mid-$20s range (there will be a burger, but it won’t be the famous Craigie version). A meat or fish will be cooked one way, instead of in four different preparations as it might be at Craigie.
“It’s going to sound like grilled chicken and roasted cod, but the trick is that it’s impeccable in its freshness, or in the rub, or the cooking technique,” Maws says.
Danny Scampoli will leave Craigie to be the chef de cuisine at Kirkland (as Carl Dooley will take the role of Craigie’s first chef de cuisine), and Tyler Wang (No. 9 Park) will head up the eponymous tap portion of the restaurant. While an upscale hot dog will soon debut, Maws doesn’t expect that to launch a trend.
“I hope nothing in this restaurant is trendy,” he says. “If it is, then I did something very wrong.”
Kirkland Tap & Trotter | 425 Washington St., Somerville | 857-259-6585 | kirklandtapandtrotter.com