After putting out the word last fall that he was opening a permanent location for Studiokitchen in NoLibs, the enigmatic chef Shola Olunloyo has switched directions. He's announced via his blog that his Studiokitchen project on 2nd Street has been set aside and instead he'll open Speck Food + Wine in the Piazza at Schmidt's - a location he was originally rumored to be looking at for Studiokitchen. Here's more about the project, which includes a Studiokitchen component, in his own words.
From Shola's blog:
In 1990 I picked up a copy of a fascinating book called WHITE HEAT by Marco P White which essentially defined my interest in cookery. I can clearly remember this as the single act that shifted my career interest towards cookery. Over the years since I have worked in restaurants, travelled for stages, cooked on small boats with tiny kitchens, big boats in Monaco with fancy kitchens and a helicopter landing pad on the rear deck, confronted with trends, eaten chicken sate being cooked on tiny canoes in Bangkok waterways. The end goal was always to have a restaurant of some sort. I spoke earlier this year about moving on to the concept of Studiokitchen however the economic realities of restaurant development far exceeded what I intended to spend to make it work or pay my backers and landlord.
On a brighter note only fools have an important Plan A without a Plan B.
Plan B is to go mainstream, more approachable without the death of creativity which is still a solid opportunity to cook good food.
The restaurant will be called Speck.
The food will be what has historically been called "New American" by food journalism.
As much as we will make an attempt to get some local fairly priced items, we will feature them but we will not jump on the dubious "farm to table" train until we actually start a farm.
I look at it as an opportunity for maximum creativity without being locked into 1 ethnic based cuisine.
We chose the name because it is simple, the restaurant is small and we will in fact have one signature dish called "Speck Toast".
The dining room sits 65 people.
The bar seats 12
There is an outdoor area for cocktails.
There is a kitchen counter that seats 5 people who are looking for a more interesting dining experience. This will be an allergy and food preference free tasting menu at the kitchen's discretion up to 10 courses.
The kitchen counter will only be booked by a fully paid non-transferable non-cancelable online reservation system.
Speck will have (correction) HAS a liquor license which means full wine, cocktail and beer lists.
Dinner Tuesday through Sunday
Lunch as opposed to brunch friday through Sunday
We will be closed Mondays.
The restaurant website under development is at : SPECK
The Kitchen tasting bar website also under development will be booked at : STUDIOKITCHEN
It is time to grow up and cook some bloody good food.
The restaurant will occupy a space across from the Swift Half in the Piazza; the licensing process has already begun and the lease is signed. An early summer opening is planned.
Speck Food + Wine Summer 2010 [Studiokitchen]
Previously: Studiokitchen Will Be BYOB and in NoLibs [GS]
Shola Olunloyo Drinks Jimi Hendricks, Makes Lemon-Brie Ice Creams [GS]