Pub Fare Ain't What It Used To Be

Nose Dive’s popular Scotch Egg, which is a hard boiled egg coated in homemade sausage and panko.
Nose Dive’s popular Scotch Egg, which is a hard boiled egg coated in homemade sausage and panko.

Creativity, upgraded menus are the order of the day, and night.

Savvy pub operators nationwide have discovered a simple formula that boosts the bottom line: Serve better food and sell more beer, wine and whiskey.

These days, made-from-scratch dishes are commonplace in pubs, and the bar has decidedly been raised when it comes to the talent in the back of the house.

At Nose Dive in Greenville, S.C., there are two full-time, former fine-dining chefs in the kitchen, where they turn out everything from a host of gluten-free items to Vietnamese-inspired fare.

“A lot of love goes into things that were traditionally taken for granted,” says chef Rodney Freidank. “We break things down from scratch and for us that is very important.

“Everything on our menu is like, ‘Oh man, I would like to eat that right now.’ ”

Nose Dive’s Chef Joey Pearson.

Freidank, who is the corporate chef for parent company Table 301, works alongside chef Joey Pearson at the “gastro pub,” which seats 110 and opened in February after another company venture took a sort of “nose dive” in the same location.

The menu features a variety of reasonably priced items, with the most expensive being the New England lobster roll, which uses Maine lobster and is served all day for $16.

“We are not making our own bread, but everything else is made from scratch, even our pickles,” Pearson says.

The duo say that as long as they keep selling plenty of beer and wine, they can afford to sell entrees such as duck confit for $15. “The cost of beer is lower than the cost of food these days,” Freidank says.

The pub, which also has an in-house pastry chef who makes all the desserts, including Krispy Kreme Doughnut Ice Cream, features four wines and 12 beers on tap, and about 50 bottled beers. Business has been brisk, and lunch and dinner covers grow each month.


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