The Ridpath Brasserie – and its world-beer bar and adjacent Asian-inspired, octopus-themed gin bar – are still coming soon.
But construction delays have pushed back the opening of Jeremy and Kate Hansen’s forthcoming classic French restaurant from last fall to April and now, possibly, late spring or summer.
May or June, “maybe,” Jeremy Hansen said. But April 1, “there’s no way. Things just keep coming up.”
Still, Hansen is hoping is sooner than later. The chef and restaurateur already has some of the staff positions filled and is hiring for others. French-style wicker chairs are on order. So is kitchen equipment.
The walls have already been painted – soft, elegant gray – but they’ll need to be touched up. Work on the sprinkler system and plumbing issues required opening up walls and ceilings after the new coat of paint had dried.
A complication with the hood system in the kitchen could potentially set work back by a month or three, maybe more, Hansen said.
When it’s all said and done, “this is going to be the biggest restaurant I’ve ever done,” he said. “I will never do anything this big again. This is it.”
The revamped space will feature a small waiting area set around a fireplace. Carpet in that entry way will be replaced. But the taupe tiles throughout the restaurant space will likely stay, for now.
“I was going to pull the tile up,” Hansen said. “I was going do black and white. But it’s going to be too expensive for that. It’ll still be good, I think.”
Hansen said the couple is investing “about $150,000 just on the guts, on stuff you can’t even see, just because (the building) is so dilapidated and trashed. There’s just a lot to do.”
The brasserie and bar are both located on the first floor of the former Ridpath Hotel, which closed in 2008. Since then, the property has sat empty and fallen into disrepair, sped up by the work of vandals and vagrants.
However, rooms are now being renovated into apartments. And the Hansens’ restaurant and bar are part of the re-imagining of the local landmark.
“We’ve wanted to be part of this since the get-go,” Hansen said, noting the brasserie and bar have been in the works for about two and a half years. “We’ll get there.”
Much remains to be done, but there isn’t as much work to do as there would be if they were building a restaurant space from scratch. That kind of an endeavor, Hansen said, “would be a million bucks.”
Once it opens, plans call for the brasserie to be open 20 hours a day, every day, and offer the same menu all day long. Hours are slated to be 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. The restaurant will close for just four hours for cleaning.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available all day. The menu is slated to be a mix of French classics: escargots, steak and frites, foie gras, French onion soup, bouillabaisse, boeuf bourguignon, veal en blanquette, coq au vin, duck confit, and a croque monsieur and a croque madam.
“This place, too,” Hansen said, “will be 100 percent scratch.”
Menu items range from $4 to $28.
Breakfast includes brioche French toast, quiche Lorraine, eggs poached in red wine, a ham-and-cheese omelet and a mushroom omelet. Several salads, including salad Nicoise and a walnut-and-blue-cheese salad, round out the menu.
For dessert, there’s fromage blanc, clafoutis, an apple marzipan galette, creme brulee, a chocolate almond croissant and more.
There’s seating for about 90 in the brasserie and beer bar. Additional seating on the sidewalk is also planned.
The main dining area will feature four- and six-tops as well as bar-stool seating along a counter top overlooking the kitchen. Another counter – newly built and still awaiting a tile top – overlooks the bar area, set off from the rest of the dining room with a raised floor and short dividing walls.
The bar, set along wide windows overlooking West First Avenue, will feature eight local draft beers plus some 100 different beers from around the world in bottles and cans.
The idea, Hansen said, is “an old European beer bar.”
He plans to add a pair of dart boards as well as show European soccer matches on TV.
Chef Tyler Shales, now of Sante, will transfer to the brasserie, Hansen said. Chef Chong Vang, now at Inland Pacific Kitchen, will be the head chef at the adjacent Ridpath Gin Bar, he said.
And gin bar, Hansen said, “might open first.”
The Ridpath Gin Bar feature limited and regulated seating. That is, no standing room.
Seating areas will include a mix of loveseats and sofas. Each will hold four to six people, or a total of 28 to 42 guests. There will be four seating areas on one side of the bar and another three on the other. The plan is to divided them by curtains, “maybe velvet.”
When guests walk in, “it will look like a hallway,” Hansen said. “This room is going to be really dark, really intimate.”
Other restaurants in the Hansen family of establishments are: Sante, Inland Pacific Kitchen, Common Crumb Artisan Bakery, Hogwash Whiskey Den and Biscuit Wizard.