The day has arrived for Remedy, the soda shop/pie shop/neighborhood restaurant/bar from Elias Pope: January 2 at 5 pm. The restaurant has been enjoying a soft opening this week, which any Facebook friend of chefs GMO Tristan or Danyele McPherson might already surmise, because photos of various food items have been popping up on their pages.
Pope, who also owns HG Sply Co., is seriously into the soda thing. The restaurant is inspired by The Dispenser's Formulary, a handbook written for soda fountain operators compiled by the editors of Soda Fountain magazine in 1915.
"After the Civil War, people began to open soda fountains, where pharmacists would dispense your medicine in soda waters flavored with syrups to make them more palatable," he says in a release. "During Prohibition, people turned from the saloon to the soda fountain. Though people initially visited soda fountains as a remedy to what ailed them, they stayed for the company."
Pope has more to say on the topic of soda.
"Soda fountains are the first completely American dining experience, a community where men, women and children all felt welcomed," he says. "It was here they sought and often found the remedy they were seeking, whether it was a thoughtfully crafted soda, an inventive ice cream sundae or a friend to laugh with."
Remedy's menu includes sodas, cocktails, ice cream sundaes, pies and classic American cuisine, i.e. burgers, fish sandwich, BLT, grilled cheese, pork chop and pot pie. "The menu is inspired by food my mom would make when I was growing up," McPherson says.
Beverage director is Mate Hartai, who owns a hand-cut ice company called the Cold Standard, and, what do you know, he has something to say about the soda situation too.
"We are not looking to mimic the American soda fountain of the early 1900s," he says. "Instead, we are taking inspiration from the spirit and technique of those innovative pioneers and combining it with a little pioneering of our own. The foundation of the soda fountain was well-carbonated water and intensely flavored syrups and mixers. We are taking those fundamental ideas and combining them with spirits to create a beverage program as focused on texture as it is flavor."
Other members of the team include executive sous chef Al Havens (previously of Salum and Neighborhood Services) and pastry sous chef Martha Nicol (previously of Central 214). The design by Jones Baker is inspired by photos Pope found of — yes! — soda fountains from the early 1900s.