One of Dallas' top craft beer makers has opened an in-house eatery. Manhattan Project Beer Company, the acclaimed brewery newly opened in West Dallas, has launched its kitchen operation with a menu starring fried chicken and a variety of street foods inspired by cuisines from around the world.
The lineup includes a Thai version of fried chicken; arepas, those filled corn pancakes from Latin America; yogurt bowls; and Belgian-frites-style French fries.
They're rolling out breakfast and lunch only, starting February 3, and will add dinner on Friday February 6.
Co-owner Misty Sanford says that having a food operation was always part of their plan.
"Our primary focus is still beer, but we want to offer food to give people a reason to stay," Sanford says. "You see breweries where people come for the beer, but when they get hungry, they go somewhere else. We felt it was important to have a kitchen so that people wouldn't leave."
They have a full though small kitchen.
"It's really an oversized food truck," Sanford says. "We're doing a small menu but it's really good made from scratch food. We're doing it the same way we approach our beer — don't put anything on the menu until it’s 100 percent. And it'll evolve. We'll start small for a month and then add and swap things out."
Manhattan Project Brewing Company has been a slow-but-steady venture between Misty, her husband Karl, and friend Jeremy Brodt. They used other breweries' facilities to start their beer production, then opened their taproom at 2211 Sulphur St. in December.
The facility has 16 beers on tap, including rotating specialty brews, plus a beer garden and space for live music.
Unusually for breweries, Manhattan Project Brewing Company is open mornings: 7:30 am Monday-Friday, and at 9 am on weekends, when they serve coffee from Edison Coffee of Flower Mound.
Their original plan for the restaurant was to partner with chef David Gilbert, who was working on launching a fried chicken concept called Thai Bird. Gilbert left in January, to join Jaxon Texas Kitchen & Beer Garden, a new restaurant opening in the developing AT&T Discovery District in March.
But when one door closes, another opens. Their new chef is Jared Conoley, previously of Mot Hai Ba and Town Hearth.
"Jared is enjoying the opportunity to get obsessive about every item on the menu," Sanford says. "And it gives us the freedom to do some things that were important to us."
One of those: their aversion to seed oil, the oil most commonly used for fried foods.
"We're using either butter or beef tallow or olive oil," Sanford says. "All our fryers are filled with beef tallow. It's more expensive but we're small enough that we can absorb the cost."
They're definitely doing their share of fried food, including the chicken as well as what was their original source of inspiration.
"Our menu is gourmet street food," Sanford says. "We do a lot of Belgian-style beer and we were inspired by Belgian frites. We are doing some of the most ridiculous fries we have ever tasted."