Tag Archives: Liberty Bar & Restaurant

Hawthorn: Elegant, Cultured and Welcome

Jesse Edmunds describes his new venue, The Hawthorn, as a “refined dining experience.” And so it is.

Many will know Edmunds and his team from their operation of Liberty Bar & Restaurant and El Cocinero, but The Hawthorn is a way different enterprise.

The elegant new restaurant, in the former home of Joe Mama’s and later, Tifeo, is a white tablecloth establishment, the cuisine inspired by the dishes of the American South and the south of Europe. The Hawthorn is named after Edmunds’ favorite flower, regal but grounded, like the food.

Edmunds and his team make pretty much everything from scratch — the crackers, sourdough bread, pasta, sauces. The list goes on and on. The emphasis is on well-sourced seasonal ingredients, local when possible. Expect the menu to change often.

The Hawthorn has had a soft opening since Oct. 5 but the grand opening is Nov. 10 and 11. Diners will be treated to a round of free champagne and the beer and wine service will expand to a full bar.

For Edmunds, The Hawthorn is a long time coming. He’s been working in the restaurant business since washing dishes at age 13. The ambitious chef graduated from Florida State University’s Dedman School of Hospitality, and at age 21 came up with a business plan for a “refined” restaurant.

It would be 10 years before Edmunds made his plan a reality, but The Hawthorn is very much the restaurant of his dreams.

The Setting

Edmund’s wife, Briana, designed the handsome restaurant, decorated in hues of deep navy and crisp white, with accents of grey, brick and wood. Walls are brightened by vivid abstracts and small planters. The Hawthorn can seat 54 in the main dining room, 20 in the bar area and eight on the outside patio. You might hear a Rolling Stones tune played softly in the background, but the fun soundtrack won’t interfere with your focus on food, friends and drink.

Dig In

For starters, my husband and I, dining with another couple, shared two of the intriguing small plates. The lamb crepe was superb. The dish is a play on pulled pork with cornbread and coleslaw, said Edmunds, but this version features flavorful braised lamb from Border Springs Farm in Virginia that’s shredded and tucked inside soft crepes made from cornmeal from Rich Pouncey’s Bumpy Road Farms in Tallahassee. The crepe is garnished with pickled mustard seeds and cabbage slaw. I want some more, right now.

Instead of avocado toast, Edmunds features butternut squash on a thin slice of wood-fired, fresh-baked sourdough slathered with a shmear of rich mascarpone cheese. The bread is topped with three renditions of the squash: confit, charred and puréed. It’s finished with a few butternut squash seeds, a drizzle of fig vinegar, thinly sliced radishes and radish greens. A taste of autumn.

The Hawthorn displays a chalkboard showing the source of its oysters, but we’ll have to try the mollusks on our next visit. We had to save room for large plates, including a mix of proteins and a vegetarian entree (with root vegetables, greens, potatoes au gratin and farmers cheese).

Pork tends to disappoint at most restaurants but The Hawthorn’s pork tenderloin is excellent, buttery tender and juicy. It’s set atop a creamy sauce of puréed roasted corn spiked with saffron. The house-made hominy is a nice touch, along with sweet potatoes and leeks cooked in a cast-iron pan in the wood fire. No wonder the dish is called Fall Pork.

My friend, who loves duck, ordered the duck confit, wonderfully moist and savory, tossed with plump, house-made gnocchi, crisp pancetta, roasted cipollini onions, romanesco (cousin to the cauliflower) and lots of Parmesan. If you don’t like salty food, keep in mind the dish is naturally a tad salty but certainly delicious.

The crab capellini has the simple goodness of a meal cooked in sunny Italy. Edmunds uses an arugula purée in his house-made pasta so it’s a light green, a pleasant backdrop for the real lump crab. On the side are slices of oranges in a white wine butter sauce. The surprise element is a dollop of Georgia caviar, one luxurious bite that doesn’t overpower the delicate dish. The caviar is made from Russian sturgeon raised in Georgia.

The other fish dish on our visit was a double hunk of fresh rainbow trout cooked skin-on, complimented by a fermented tomato sauce with heirloom carrots scooped into melon balls for a whimsical accent.

For dessert, we devoured the scrumptious red velvet bread pudding from pastry chef Kristen Siegel. It’s more of a deconstructed cake, with chunks of chocolate, a vanilla crème anglaise and a garnish of beet micro greens. We could have licked the plate.

For something different, try the gujar ka halwa cake. It’s like an Indian version of carrot cake with cardamon and other Indian spices. If you’re a fan of cream cheese, you’ll love the thick wedge of rich cream cheese ice cream. It’s accompanied by Seigel’s own almond brittle.

A sweet ending, indeed.

Bar

There’s a small, thoughtful wine list (by the glass and bottle). Beer choices include Proof’s La La Land and Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPAs. The full bar will feature classic cocktails like martinis and Manhattans.

Service

Servers were attentive and came around often to fill water glasses and see if we were enjoying our meal. We were.

Prices

Small plates $10 to $13, large plates $20 to $35, desserts $8 to $9.

Bottom Line

The Hawthorn is a winner. It’s only open about a month but it’s already a creative, and welcome, new dining destination for Tallahassee.

Rating: Worth the Drive

Rochelle Koff writes about food and dining at TallahasseeTable.com, and on Facebook, @TheTallahasseeTable and Twitter @tallytable. Reach her at TallahasseeTable@gmail.com.

When you go …

The Hawthorn
1307 N. Monroe St., Unit 1
850.354.8275
Open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday
Reservations suggested.

 

 

 

Late-Night Eats

Maybe you worked late, went to a concert or just got a hankering for a fat burger or a cheese omelet and everything’s closed. Or so it seems. Finding a place serving food after 9:30 p.m. is tough in Tallahassee.

Bars,  especially on the college campuses, in the All Saints Arts District and in Midtown,  are good bets to find sustenance while most folks are snoozing away (get takeout if you don’t want to stay), but there are more choices  out there. FYI, unless you’re going to a 24-hour place, call first because some venues close early if they’re empty.

If you want to pig out while staying in your jammies, you just might  be able to get cookies or mac n’ cheese delivered to your door.

Here are some choices that serve food after most places turn out their lights in Tallahassee:

Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack:  Grab one of the best grouper sandwiches or burgers in Tallahassee at this funky bar and restaurant, a local favorite which also holds trivia, comedy, open mic and karaoke nights.  Open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday. Food generally served to 1 a.m. (call first, because the kitchen may close earlier, depending on the crowd). 325 N Bronough St.; 850-222-1075.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: An appealing stop post work or play, the popular chain restaurant offers its extensive menu until closing time so if you have a late-night craving for that Peruvian quinoa bowl or Pizooki cookie treat, go for it. 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 1749 Apalachee Pkwy.; 850-216-2010.

Buffalo Wild Wings: This sports-minded chain offers traditional and boneless wings with 21 types of sauce. Other menu items include burgers, wraps and desserts. 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 392 S Magnolia Dr.; 850-309-0065.

Checkers: The burger chain has several locations in Tallahassee, most open to midnight or later during the week and until 3 a.m. on weekends. The branch at 802 Lake Bradford Rd. is open to 5 a.m. on weekends. Go late or have a burger for breakfast. Check the website for locations and more details on hours.

Chicago Chicken & Grill:  Chicken wings, strips and nuggets dominate but you’ll also find  tacos, shrimp  and salads on the menu at these three branches.  Open  from 11 a.m. to midnight. Delivery available. 1911 S. Adams St. , 850-765-1625; 2205 Apalachee Pkwy.,  850-727-8217; 1904 W. Pensacola St., 850-692-3744.

Denny’s: “America’s diner” is always open, and as many of us know, a Grand Slam always tastes better at 3 a.m. 2690 N Monroe St.; 850-523-4491.

Dipped: Oh man, chocolate-dipped strawberries are heavenly any time of day, but Dipped delivers them, as well as cheesecake and other gourmet treats, including S’more truffles, Belgian waffles and bacon, until 3 a.m.  It caters to the college crowd but word is spreading. You can also stop by the space, which it shares with ZBaked and Penny Delivers.  Open between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. Unit A and B, 2401 Pensacola St.; 850-296-7489.

Fourth Quarter Bar & Grille: A friend says Fourth Quarter is THE spot for a late-night omelet, but you can order anything on the menu till 2 a.m. Other breakfast items are only available on Saturday and Sunday morning at this longtime local hangout, which has been open for more than three decades. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, breakfast 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday.

Gaines Street Pies: Pizzas, salads, calzones and appetizers like a hummus plate and spinach-artichoke dip are available at this venue in the All Saints Arts District. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 603 W. Gaines St. 850-765-9275.

IHOP: Indulge your desire for pancakes any time at this 24-hour chain.  2225 N. Monroe, 850-385 0010; 2840 Apalachee Pkwy.;850-656 1621.

Insomnia Cookies: College students aren’t the only zany people who crave chocolate chunk cookies and milk in the middle of the night. Insomnia delivers cookies, ice cream and milk to fans anywhere within three miles of its Tennessee Street location, which includes Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. There’s a $6 minimum; the delivery fee is $1.99. 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Friday, noon to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1525 W. Tennessee St.; 877-632-6654.

Island Wing Company: One of the few late-night restaurant choices in the Northeast, this source for baked chicken wings offers its full menu until closing, but there’s also a $5 late-night menu featuring quesadillas, jerk chicken tacos, a veggie basket, seven boneless wings and a cheeseburger and fries. 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 1370 Market St.; 850-692-3116.

Liberty Bar and Restaurant: The casual bar is known for its elevated pub food from chef/co-owner Jesse Edmunds (El Cocinero). Four entree choices are only available until 11 p.m. but you can order from the rest of the menu, which includes a Scotch egg, artisan and charcuterie boards, burgers and chocolate cake until closing. 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch) and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1307 N Monroe St.; 850-284-7966.

– Wild Light Films

Madison Social: The kitchen at this pub and eatery is only open late hours Thursday through Sunday, when you can load up chicken tenders, wraps, burgers and other bar bites. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Full menu available to 10 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, to midnight or 1 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. 705 S. Woodward Ave.; 850-894-6276.

Midtown Pies: From the owners of Gaines Street Pies, this Midtown pizzeria attracts big crowds Friday and Saturday night after all the neighboring bars close at 2 a.m. so you might want to stop by earlier for pies, subs and wraps. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

Miller’s Ale House: The menu at the sports bar includes Zingers chicken tenders, salads, burgers and steaks. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily; the kitchen closes at 1:30 a.m. 722 Apalachee Pkwy; 850-222-0364.

OG Subs: If you’re a South Florida transplant, you’ll be happy to learn that former employees from beloved Laspada’s Original Hoagies have opened a sub shop in Tallahassee called OG Subs. They have  meats from the same purveyor as LaSpada’s but use local bread from Tasty Pastry Bakery and local produce. Delivery service, take-out and walk-in service available. More good news: the sub shop is open late night hours a few nights a week. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.  OG stands for Outrageously Good subs, salads and wraps.  444 W. College Ave.; 850-553-1352.

Penny Delivers: The service charges one cent and offers delivery until 3 a.m. Go on their website, pennydelivers.com/, plug in your address and you’ll get a list of available places.

TGIF Friday’s:   Or TG it’s open till 2 a.m. every night. You can find  burgers, chicken, salads, steak and  plenty of appetizers at the casual, national  chain, located near Interstate 10.  11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. 3390 Capital Circle NE; 850-422-8443.

Township: The beer hall-inspired space serves food until 1:30 a.m. daily but switches to a limited, late-night menu at 10 p.m., with items like cheese-drizzled fries, fried chicken thighs in a cone and Big Daddy and Big Momma pretzels. 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 619 S Woodward Ave., 850-597-8075.

Village Inn: The family restaurant offers a full, large menu, with lots of breakfast items and pies. 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 1225 E Park Ave., 850- 877-8471; 3392 Lonnbladh Rd.; 850-297-0053.

Waffle House:  There are at least seven Waffle Houses in Tallahassee so there’s bound to be one in your neighborhood. You can find a pecan waffle, BLT or even a T-bone at this national chain, open 24 hours. Check the website for a location near you.

Waterworks: “Party like it’s 1965” is the slogan at this beloved tiki bar and restaurant, from owner Don Quarello. Waterworks features bar bites, sandwiches, salads and desserts. A friend raves that “the late-night Capri sammy is most restorative.” Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. 1133 Thomasville Rd.; 850-224-1887.

Wendy’s: The national burger chain (with salads, chicken and wraps) has several branches, with varying hours. Most close anytime between 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.  Expect earlier closing hours during weekdays. Check website for locations.

Whataburger: The five locations of this retro national chain are open 24 hours. Get breakfast items including the Breakfast on a Bun from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. 1101 Thomasville Rd., 2586 N. Monroe St., 1701 W Tennessee St., 2511 Apalachee Pkwy., 815 Lake Bradford Rd.

The Wilbury: From the owners of Gaines Street Pies, this new bar and music venue serves its lineup of quirky fare including pulled jackfruit tacos, barbecue brisket sandwich and “overnight and slow” pulled pork. 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. dinner Saturday and Sunday. 513 W. Gaines St.; 850-320-6353.

The Wine Loft: Stop by this sophisticated space for a glass of wine and linger over items like truffle tots, Angus sliders, baked brie and meat and cheese boards. The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Bar hours: 5 p.m. to about midnight Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 1240 Thomasville Rd; 850-222-9914.

Z Baked: Find cookies and muffins as well as mac ‘n cheese, burgers, paninis and lots more at this bakery and comfort food stop (with one other location in Orlando), which offers pick-up or delivery from 5 to 3 a.m. There’s a $6 minimum and no delivery charge. The delivery area includes FSU, FAMU, Tallahassee Community College and a broader area from Monroe to Capital Circle and Interstate 10 to Orange Avenue. Order online at zbaked.com. 2401 W. Pensacola St., 850-391-2206.