Coming Soon: Tinker Street
When I spoke to Peter George and Tom Main on the phone, they were hurtling along the highway at 70 mph on their way to a well-deserved weekend break. “We saw an opportunity to take a rest, and we took it,” George explained.
George and Main have been working tirelessly to get their most recent project off the ground and ready to feed our neighborhood. But first, they had to take this trip up to the finger lakes of New York where they could enjoy a good meal, a cold beer, and a few quiet hours away from the busyness of starting a local eatery.
It was an interesting sort of interview, with semis and motorcycles alike whizzing by and filling the receiver of George’s phone, which was on speaker. But the noise pollution didn’t stop them from telling me excitedly about the restaurant they plan to open at the end of this summer at 402 E 16th St.
It will be a neighborhood hotspot called Tinker Street—a memorialising throwback to the street’s original name. As George and Main described it, Tinker Street will be a chef-driven, wine-centric restaurant that serves up a wide smattering of fresh flavorful food with a focus on local plant-based ingredients. It won’t be vegetarian, but those who are looking to satisfy their inner herbivore with quality, home-grown ingredients will be glad they stopped in.
The operation’s star will be their chef Braedon Kellner, who has worked as the sous chef for Oakley’s Bistro, the Alexander Hotel, and has cooked professionally elsewhere for years. As the owners were quick to point out, he has a “unique” cooking style and he’s been working in the food business since he was eighteen. His experience and expertise should be an invaluable asset.
But a large part of the interest and identity of the restaurant is the location that Kellner and the rest of the staff will be providing their service from. At only 900 square feet, the dining experience will be intimate and one-of-a-kind.
“It’s a matchbox,” Main said.
Far from detracting from the overall appeal of the restaurant, the size and feel is a strength. They’re calling it an “urban cottage”–a quaint and comfortable center to a night in the neighborhood.
The space itself will be divided evenly between indoor and outdoor seating with 36 seats in both. Glass walls will face the front, giving the restaurant plenty of light and the feeling of open space, especially with exposed rafters overhead. It will be a perfect niche for patrons, whether families, couples, or just individuals, to step in and catch a bite to eat, either for thirty minutes or several hours.
George and Main visited the location several years ago, when they first started to consider building a restaurant in a neighborhood they appreciated, and finally decided that this was the place they wanted to be.
They hope that the locals will want to be there too, whether they’re on 16th street for an art show, festival, or a just a quiet night outside when the weather is nice.
In order to encourage that kind of friendly, choose-your-experience dining experience, the menu that is currently proposed is not divided into distinct meal sections. No appetizers. No entrees. No desserts. Just original and quality individual dishes that are meant to be enjoyed on your own terms and even shared with friends if you’re feeling communal.
“That menu will be changing frequently as well,” Main explained, “there are no boundaries here, and we want to keep people guessing.”
Food options will change seasonally in order to best showcase the strongest dishes possible on any given date, and the 30-40 wine selections will be changing even more frequently than that. All in all, the experience will be organic, and as customer feedback starts to roll in, they hope to keep improving service, options, and Tinker Street as a whole.
The restaurant is set to open late in September, and it should be a welcome, lively addition to 16th St. George and Main will be joining the ranks of a community of “interesting people who have been doing interesting things for years,” as they described it, and for that, they’ll gladly put their combined 60 years of restaurant experience to work.
But for just this weekend, we’ll let them enjoy sitting on a dock and taking a break. So long as we get to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labor later this year.