When Forager Brewery and Kutzky Market (1005 Sixth St. NW, Rochester) opened a few months ago, things were crazy-busy as they managed half the population of Rochester coming through its doors wanting to check out the new place in town (as we do).
Then, things stayed busy.
Now, when the restaurant fills up people typically wait in the library or coffee shop area until their table is ready. Since part of the ethos of Forager is adaptability, the owners and staff saw an opportunity to make their guests more comfortable.
“We figured out we need more seating to wait to eat at Forager,” said owner Annie Henderson. “We didn’t want them to feel like they were waiting in a coffee shop, and we also saw a need for a bartender back there. That’s why we decided to transform this space into Bertha Kutzky’s a few nights a week.”
Bertha Kutzky’s is the hipster name for the newest craft cocktail lounge in town, open in the coffee shop area of Kutzky Market Wednesday through Saturday nights from 5 to 11 p.m.
The name pays homage to the origins of the community around the restaurant.
“Bertha Kutzky and her husband, August, were the founders of Kutzky Park,” explains Henderson.
Forager’s Paul Koerner manages Bertha Kutzky’s and provides creative direction for both the craft cocktail menu and the exclusive appetizer menu, which changes weekly and is only available in the lounge area.
“I wanted to take a really clean approach to the cocktail menu,” Koerner said. “It focuses on classic cocktails and fresh, local ingredients. It’s really meant to be a complement to the brewery and restaurant.” The local ingredients include as many regionally made distilled spirits as possible.
Some of Koerner’s cocktail highlights include the Old West, which includes Cody Road bourbon and simple syrup; or the Salty Dog, which starts with a sea salt rim and incorporates fresh grapefruit juice, vodka, and simple syrup.
As for the exclusive appetizer menu, Koerner and Forager executive chef Jordan Bell come up with it together each week.
Check out the new cocktail lounge if you get a chance — and let me know what you think.
Today at ZZest Market
Hey, here’s something you can do today if there’s still time.
ZZest Market, located in the skyway above First Avenue in downtown Rochester, is hosting a “Happy Hour in the Market” tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. to help you gear up for holiday entertaining. They’ll have lots of sale items, drawings for three $50 gift cards to the market, cheeses to taste and a wine tasting from the Libation Project.
If you need entertaining advice, hostess gifts or just some holiday cheer, be sure to stop by after hours tonight for some get-in-the-spirit fun.
Saturday at the Farmer’s Market
For more glad tidings, head to the Rochester Downtown Farmer’s Market’s “Thanksgiving at the Market” event this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Building 41 on the Olmsted County Fairgrounds.
They’ll have special holiday arrangements, local and organic foods for your feast, including in-season pumpkins, squash, and plenty more veggies from the late harvest. Pick up a jar of hot pepper jam for a hostess gift, and you’re all set.
Gather for a toast
In light of recent world events, I’m craving evidence of the goodness and light I know still exists in the world. There might be no better place to experience it than at Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine (1208 Seventh St. NW, Rochester) on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
On these nights at these hours, everything stops in the restaurant while all guests are given complimentary flutes of champagne and all are invited to reflect, give thanks, and make a toast. It’s a beautiful moment in which strangers can feel like friends we haven’t met yet, differences don’t seem so important, and we’re all raising our glasses in recognition of our shared struggles, triumphs, and common humanity.
I can’t think of anything more beautiful than that. Cheers.