Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 97
Red Heat Tavern
to being a 100 percent scratch kitchen where everything is
made from high-quality ingredients.
However, to differentiate the new concept, it placed a
greater emphasis on craft beer and designed its dishes for a
lower price point. All appetizers are priced at less than $12
and most entrees range from $14 to $21. "I think we offer a
better value, a better bang for your buck, than our competitors," Frati notes.
Even at those lower price points, Red Heat Tavern is able
to deliver high-quality and exciting meals. "We look for bold
flavors," Frati says. The restaurant specializes in American
comfort food such wings, meatloaf, burgers and ribs. "You
can get wings anywhere at this point," Frati says. "Most
restaurants across the country offer some form of wings.
We're not reinventing the wheel, but we're offering the best
Guests can experience something new every time they
visit. Red Heat Tavern offers a rotating menu of select dishes that changes every eight weeks to highlight ingredients
that are in season.
With the constantly shifting menu, it becomes even more
important to be sensitive to guest allergies. Every staff members goes through allergy training and anything on the menu
can be made gluten free with a few substitutions, even the
skillet cookie and mac and cheese. If a guest has an allergy,
their dish is served on a red plate as a signal that it was prepared correctly, giving the diner confidence they can enjoy
beers, Red Heat Tavern works with area breweries to craft
its own beer. The restaurant recently worked with Cape Ann
Brewing Co. to develop a smoked maple porter made from
500 pounds of malted rye smoked on the Josper oven and
then brought to Cape Ann for brewing.
Working with local breweries is one way Red Heat Tavern
supports Massachusetts' craft beer scene. Of the 24 beers on
tap in November, 23 came from breweries within 100 miles
of Wilmington, Mass.
With the combination of good food, local craft beers and
unique flavors made possible by the Josper oven, Red Heat
Tavern believes it has developed a formula that can be replicated in other markets. The company plans to open five
restaurants in 2018, including locations in South Windsor,
Conn. and Bedford, N.H. Three more restaurants will open
in Massachusetts in the cities of Westborough, Westwood
and Milford. "We obviously feel very strongly that we have
a good product," Frati says. "It's a product we believe in and
is very scalable.
"We believe the brand has mass appeal and has potential
to grow coast to coast," he adds.
Finding ways to utilize the Josper oven in classic dishes such
as wings is part of the excitement. Before Red Heat Tavern,
Frati had never used a Josper oven and perfecting cooking
techniques on the unconventional grill came with a learning
curve. The oven can experience big swings in temperature,
going from 500 F to 1,000 F in three minutes.
Frati and his chefs had to learn to control the airflow to
manage those temperatures and avoid burning food. "It
takes a little practice to use because it's not like a regular
charbroil grill that everyone has," Frati explains.
When Frati and the owners began building the Red Heat
Tavern concept they didn't want to build the entire menu
around the Josper oven because they were wary of overworking one station. However, that has changed as the cooks
have gained experience with the oven and are more willing to
incorporate it into their dishes. "It's definitely an advantage
to have such a great piece of equipment," Frati says.
The Josper even plays a part in the restaurant's extensive
craft brew program. In addition to carrying 20 to 30 local
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