The restaurant — and come spring, the roof deck — will serve up bar pizza, fried chicken, dill pickle ranch, and more from the Brighton brewpub.
The Sinclair, Harvard Square’s preeminent music venue, has been hosting shows back inside its ballroom for months, but its adjacent restaurant, bar, and roof deck hasn’t returned in full form since shuttering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Until now: Dinner is finally back at The Sinclair Kitchen beginning on Saturday, Feb. 12, with a distinct style of pizza taking center stage.
Thanks to a new partnership between Brighton’s Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen and The Sinclair operator Bowery Presents, South Shore-style bar pizza, among other comfort-food creations, will satisfy concert-goers, college students, and the broader Cambridge crowd. Brewpub chef and co-owner Jonathan Gilman has developed a new menu for “Brato at The Sinclair,” which pulls Brato favorites like Brighton Hot Chicken with dill pickle ranch, buffalo cauliflower with fried Brussels sprouts, smash burgers, and more. Since September, bar pies have been an occasional special in Brighton, but the Sinclair Kitchen reopening is their time to shine.
Bar pies, for the uninitiated, are personal-sized, crispy-crusted pizzas topped with a unique blend of sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. To Gilman, a South Shore native, they are the definitive type of pizza, but they’re underrepresented around Boston (with due respect to Hot Box in Somerville and Bardo’s Pizza at Castle Island Brewing Co. in South Boston, two new-wave bar pie shops).
Gilman began experimenting with bar pizza dough and his own blend of cheeses after an initial meeting with Bowery, during which he discovered The Sinclair’s kitchen is outfitted with a double-stacked convection oven.
“We try to match up the food to the way their kitchen is set up,” Gilman said. “Especially in more of a college-town area, directly in Harvard Square, I thought bar pies seemed like a really clean fit.”
Brato beers are also heading for The Sinclair, with a rotating selection of Brighton-brewed drafts and cans joining the offerings both in the restaurant and in the music venue.
Brato is no stranger to partnerships. Before opening their N. Beacon Street brewpub in late 2019, Gilman and his business partner, brewer Alex Corona, both alumni of Cambridge Brewing Company, built their brand via food pop-ups and collaboration beers with the likes of Lamplighter, Night Shift, and Dorchester Brewing Company. Brato has co-hosted beer dinners with other breweries, and it operates a food truck that serves Night Shift’s Esplanade beer garden in season. The brewpub even hosted a City of Boston vaccination clinic.
That spirit of cooperation prompted Gilman to reach out to Bowery when he first heard about plans for Roadrunner, the promoters’ new music venue. It will open in March at Boston Landing, the Allston-Brighton development located just around the corner from Brato.
“We just wanted to get an idea of the players in the neighborhood and get to know our community in that way,” Gilman said of his initial outreach in spring 2019, before his brewpub was even open. “We’ve displayed this history with partnerships enough where we were just lending an early hand to them.”
It turns out, the company had a more immediate need in the food world: Bowery was looking for a culinary consultant who could redesign the menu at The Sinclair Kitchen and help run the kitchen in Harvard Square. It’s “a dream opportunity” for Brato to get more name recognition on the north side of the river, Gilman said. He’s optimistic it will pave the way for future partnerships, too.
Beginning Feb. 12, Brato at The Sinclair Kitchen will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5 until 9 p.m. Folks can order at the bar or via a QR code from their phones, and indoor seating will be available for fully vaccinated diners. Gilman expects to expand the hours this spring — just in time for the return of The Sinclair’s awesome roof-top patio.
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