It's off to the races at Worden Hall. The South Boston restaurant officially opens this Thursday, and restaurateur Dylan Welsh (the man behind the Five Horses Tavern duo of spots) is bringing a big new destination for beer, whiskey and polished American fare. Check out the full menu here and click through the slide show below to learn more about why we're champing at the bit to get inside. (The racehorse puns will make sense soon.)
Welsh grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York, home to a historic thoroughbred horse racing track that has has long lured summer tourists. The name Five Horses Tavern was a reference to Welch and his four brothers; Worden Hall, meanwhile, was named for the Worden Hotel, a once-iconic Saratoga Springs property that Welsh uncovered while researching the region with the help of a local historian. Quincy artist Mark Grundig painted the horse race mural in the main dining room.
The 28-seat bar is a centerpiece of the restaurant. You'll find 40 rotating craft beers on draft, plus 60 bottles of other assorted brews. And in keeping with the extensive brown-liquor program at Five Horses' Davis Square location, you'll find 100 bottles of whiskey at Worden Hall; note that librarylike ladder used to reach them all.
Back to the bar: it's topped with hundreds of shiny pennies that Welsh personally sorted (after making many, many bank trips), and even an original coaster from the Worden Hotel.
Lift a toast to Marilyn Monroe. Maine artist Jim Sturzenberger makes mosaics using bottle caps that Welsh collects from his restaurants.
Welsh wanted to take the culinary "to the next level" at Worden Hall, so he tapped some top talent for the kitchen. Exec chef Tim McQuinn spent time at The Merchant and Craigie on Main, while exec sous-chef Bill Nurse made our most recent 30 Under 30 list for his work at Metropolis. Pictured: roasted beef shoulder ($28) with horseradish crema, red wine jus, grilled broccolini and mushrooms.
Welsh wants the "Dogs" section of the menu to be a place for playfulness. Expect rotating chef-driven hot dog ideas, like this Kobe Beef Chi Town Dog ($7) topped with napa slaw, pickled mustard seeds and Sriracha mustard.
It seems like every new restaurant is firing up a pizza oven lately, but Welsh specifically wanted to fill a void for deep dish–style pizzas around town. Seen here is the margherita ($20) with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella from Vermont's Maplebrook Farms.
Seafood lovers, check out the seared scallops ($27) with fire-roasted sweet corn, smoked cippolini onion, pork belly and bulgur wheat.