Geoffrey Heyde, longtime executive chef at Village Anchor and most recently executive chef at SET, will open his first restaurant venture in March in the former home of Basa Modern Vietnamese in Clifton.
Heyde said the menu will be classic American, but he isn’t yet providing specifics.
“It won’t be Vietnamese,” Heyde joked. “Really, that’s still a work in progress,” he said.
He said the food will be non-pretentious, cooked with classic ingredients and techniques.
“Everything will be approachable, food people understand,” he said. “Nothing off the wall that needs explaining or with 16 different spices.”
After 10 years in the 2244 Frankfort Ave. location, Basa owners Steven and Michael Ton closed the restaurant this past Christmas Eve. That left a vacancy landlord Coco Tran (also owner of Roots and Heart & Soy restaurants in the Highlands) was eager to fill, and one Heyde said won’t require a large overhaul to convert to Fork & Barrel.
“Pretty much the goal is to have it not look like Basa when customers come in—they’ll notice it’s different,” he said. “The outside will need to be painted and updated, but that can’t happen until the weather changes.”
The restaurant, which seats 80 at tables and bar, will employ 20 people, Heyde said.
He also said not to get too caught up with the “Barrel” half of the name, “because it’s not going to have either a huge bourbon or wine influence. But those are important.”
When asked what he expects Fork & Barrel will quickly become known for, he didn’t mention the food.
“It’ll be known as one of only a few restaurants in town that has great service,” he said.
Don’t expect favorites from the Village Anchor or SET menus to be on the menu either. During a brief stint as chef at Owl Creek Country Club after leaving Village Anchor, he said members there wanted that restaurant’s favorites served at the club. He said some of those expectations followed him to SET last year as well.
“I don’t need to do that anymore since I can do my own food,” he said. “I’m ready to do my own things.”