Peter Woolsey is a patient man. The chef-owner of Bistrot La Minette in Queen Village had been on the lookout for a second project for at least three years, but never found quite the right space, location or partners. Over the winter, he finally made the right match, thanks to connections from Feastival’s Audrey Claire Taichman.
This summer he will launch a brasserie called la peg. in partnership with FringeArts in the group’s new building on Columbus Boulevard. Launch will happen before the Fringe Festival on September 5, so we’re still a couple of months away, but we chatted with Woolsey to get a feel for what he’ll serve at the new restaurant.
The cuisine will take inspiration from Alsace, and the menu will be large. “Nothing close to Cheesecake Factory size,” the chef assures us, “but that’s one of the main things that defines a brasserie, as opposed to a bistro.” Here are a few teases he gave us:
- Choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with sausages and potatoes)
- Bone marrow (“It will always be on the menu in some form or another”)
- Steak frites
- “A nice burger”
- Ice cream
Ice cream? Yes. “At la peg., there will be something for everyone. Come for ice cream with the kids on the patio, come for a drink at the bar, come for a snack or come for a full-blast meal,” Woolsey says. The menu will be 80% small plates, which excites him because it will give people a chance to taste more of his dishes. “At Bistrot, we get to make at most three impressions on the guest (app, entree, dessert). Here, a guest could easily order five different things, we get five impressions.”
Atmosphere will be different from La Minette, too. “Brasserie” means brewery in French, the chef points out, and the best brasseries build on that origin by being big and boisterous, with a pleasant din and lots of movement and talking.
Beer will big a big part of the drink menu, with eight taps pouring a list Woolsey is excited to curate. “I’m tired of going to a bar and 60% of the drafts are IPAs,” he says, describing his favorites as lagers and European-style beers that have subtlety and elegance.
Work is underway on the 100-seat interior, which will incorporate some of the salvaged tanks from the former 1903 pumphouse and take advantage of the 30-foot-tall windows from which you can see the Ben Franklin Bridge. Groundswell Design is in charge, and the firm responsible for Morgan’s Pier and Talula’s Garden is planning another great outdoor space, a large patio covered with trees and tight gravel like a European beer garden. It will be tough to wait until September to take advantage.
140 N. Columbus Blvd.