by Ian McNulty
Maurepas Foods opens tonight in the Bywater, bringing an interesting new dining option to its neighborhood.
Chef/owner Michael Doyle was previously sous chef at the well-regarded Dante’s Kitchen in the Riverbend for years. He’s described his plans for Maurepas Foods as country cooking with refinements and updates, with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients.
His opening menu looks promising, and a little unorthodox. Instead of being divided into appetizer and entrée sections, it’s simply split between “vegetables, starch and grain” and “meat and fish.” It includes dishes like sweet potato and peanut croquettes with salted plum jam, shiitake and Amaro glaze; crowder pea and bacon stew; goat tacos; pork and bacon terrine; root vegetable gratin; mussels in brown ale and Stilton broth; and raw oysters. You can order cheese plates and selections of house-made pickles. Prices are low, with most dishes between $5 and $10.
The restaurant is located in a historic corner building that required an extensive overhaul.
“We basically took it apart and redid the whole thing,” he said.
The renovation includes a great deal of recycled and re-purposed woodwork and a long bar for dining or just sipping drinks. The restaurant opens with a liquor license and full bar service ready to roll, Doyle says.
The chef is stoked by the excitement the restaurant has generated in its neighborhood and among his staff, which includes many local restaurant business veterans.
“The idea of opening an ambitious, well-grounded restaurant in the Bywater has really attracted a lot of great people to the project, so I’m confident we can open without the training wheels on,” he says.
Maurepas Foods opens tonight, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. The restaurant’s regular schedule will offer continuous service from 11 a.m. to midnight every day except Wednesday.
3200 Burgundy St.