Since the 1st "microbrewery" fired up their kettle, in 1983, Seattle has maintained its reputation for brewing award-winning craft beer. Unfortunately Seattle has received little recognition for its restaurant kitchens. But this hasn't stopped restaurants and public houses from serving up something mouthwatering, chaperoned by a pint Fremont 77 Select or Pike Kilt Lifter.
Mouthwatering as the thought of deep-fried fish and a bitter ale might be, most breweries in the city do not have a kitchen onsite. Rather, many encourage guests to bring their own food or purchase food from nearby food trucks or restaurants. Chances are if you've visited a brewery in the past year, you've enjoyed everything from a grilled-cheese sandwich to an oven-cooked pizza, all from the confines of a 16-foot long truck.
One of those breweries, located in Seattle's SoDo (i.e. South Downtown) neighborhood, Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider Company are trying something different - hosting a food truck within their taproom.
Since last year, when The Woods expanded their seat capacity, the brewery and cidery have hosted a vacant area with the words "Bread and Circuses" listed above a counter. It wasn't until mid-November that Bread and Circuses started cooking up a limited menu including Three Pepper Cider Wings, Brussels Sprout Caesar, and Sourdough Doughnuts.
Started in 2014, by James Barrington and Syd Suntha, Bread and Circuses began during a chance engagement inside the "Where Ya At Matt?" food truck.
A Seattle-native, James graduated from the University of Washington in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts. Shortly afterwards, James purchased food truck Hallava Falafel from owner Rick Baker, much to the relief of loyal followers. Taking inspiration from Israel, Lebanon, and Spain, James expanded the established menu to include items like shawarma - featuring a choice of meats or vegetables. By 2012 Barrington increased availability of Falafel through the purchase of a 2nd food truck.
By 2014, energized by his loyal supporters, James collaborated with Matt Davis to found Wood Shop BBQ. With a menu inspired by both Kansas City-style and Texas-style barbecue, the duo started with a menu of pulled pork, ribs, and briskets - complemented by classics like coleslaw, cornbread, and mac & cheese.
Around the same time, St. Louis native and International Culinary School of America grad, Syd Suntha moved to Seattle, to work at Josh Henderson's Skillet. Before long, Syd moved onto managing Matthew Lewis's Where ya at Matt? food truck in 2014. But it was through a discussion with established food truck owner, James Barrington, that Syd was inspired to open his own food truck. Shortly afterwards, James and Syd would start Bread and Circuses with Sous Chef "Lil'" Rob in tow. By early 2015, the food truck's reputation had grown away from anticipated carnival food, to something special in an archipelago of mobile kitchens.
Taking notice of Syd, James, and Rob's culinary energy, Two Beers / Seattle Cider owner Joel Vandenbrink envisioned something unique for customers at his The Woods tasting room. No doubt over a few pints of beer and cider, Joel Vandenbrink, James and Syd devised Bread and Circuses inside the The Woods, in mid-November 2015.
Despite the location, Bread and Circuses is owned and operated by Barrington and Suntha, with Joel as the space's 'landlord' if you will.
Words alone cannot describe the menu, so Bread and Circuses, in co-operation with The Woods were kind enough to host a small dinner to whet appetites and inspire salivation.
Duck Fat Popcorn. "Brewer's yeast, sea salt" / Hosui Pear. "Brie, rosemary, truffle oil, sea salt"
Brussels Sprout Caesar. "Crispy prosciutto, parmesan, croutons, pepperoncini pickled egg" paired with Seattle Cider Olympic Honey Cider.
Beer Battered Unagi. Potato funnel cake, Daikon slaw, yuzu tartar, Thai chili syrup" paired with Two Beers Crooked Belgian Wit.
Kalbi Short Rib. "Cannellini bean cassoulet, Savory cabbage, parsnips" paired with Seattle Cider Cold Brew Coffee Cider
Seared Octopus. "Puffed farro, Fresno chili escabeche, caramelized fennel, red radish arugula salad" paired with Two Beers new Wonderland Trail IPA
Foie Churros. "Espresso stout chocolate sauce" paired with Two Beers Overhang Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter.
For this writer, I can only ask why another brewery taproom hasn't thought of this sooner? For now I ask that you give Bread and Circuses a shot, if you find yourself resting inside The Woods.
Bread and Circuses "restaurant" is located inside The Woods at 4660 Ohio Avenue South and is open most days from 3pm to 9pm, and opening at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. Check out Bread and Circuses website, for menu and updated hours.
N.W. Beer Guide