Earlier this fall, Hale Pele's Blair Reynolds and Coco Donuts' Ian Christopher announced they would open Americano, a craft-coffee-by-day and craft-cocktail-by-night cafe/bar on East Burnside. Now Reynolds tells Eater the plan is to open sometime in January, and local muralists, Rather Severe, are currently painting the place. It will sport an "amazing futurism design" anchored by a unique, hanging metal bar decoration, says Reynolds.
Americano will roast its own coffee beans and feature a menu by former Green Goddess chef Chris DeBarr, who, like Reynolds, is a lover of all things tiki. According to DeBarr, the food will pair well with both Americanos—the espresso drink and the vermouth and Campari-based cocktail—and the menu will be built around the concept of "the Bitter Circus," or what he calls "serious flavors not to be taken too seriously."
When we spoke to DeBarr by email—and we're glad we did, because, like a proper Southerner, he knows how to tell a good story—he wrote, "Americano is a way to talk about how this culinary, cocktail, and coffee revolution has taken us to new places and connected us with cultures far and wide but still retains a sense of playful glamor that marks civilized drinking."
What that means? Expect breakfast—"there will be waffle irons, but they won't be used strictly for waffles," so don't expect all-day waffles; instead, you'll find "some surprising ideas using waffles as a tool for unexpected pleasures." Also expect a happy hour menu "of snacks between brunch and the start of dinner." And for dinner, expect "small plates designed for drinking great cocktails and for celebrating a 'big night'"—putting "on the ritz, so to speak," says DeBarr.
DeBarr didn't want to release too many specifics, but he did say the Americano menu will have "a solid Euro foundation," with the kitchen "taking voyages that explore our American appetites, whether we are celebrating James Beard or considering our shared yet unique stories as a melting pot of cultures."
DeBarr did drop one specific, deep-fried detail: Americano's been equipped with some tiny deep fryers, and each one will be filled with duck fat. Waffles, deep frying in duck fat, and beverages by tiki-master Blair Reynolds? Americano is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated openings in 2016.
Americano: 2509 E Burnside St.