Batch & Brine, a family-owned and operated world craft kitchen and craft cocktail bar located in downtown Lafayette, California, will open in early June 2018. Inspired by treasured family recipes passed down through generations, the menu showcases burgers, sandwiches and shareable plates that bring world flavors to America’s traditionally favorite foods. The name Batch & Brine represents the preservation of the family’s culinary techniques, as well as their appreciation for small, sustainably produced local batch beers, wines and spirits.
Batch & Brine is owned and operated by a group of siblings and cousins with roots that extend from New Mexico and the Mediterranean to California. Siblings Mike, Rolla, and David Ghaben, together with cousins Sam Ghaben and Celina Gonzales, and their son Victor Ghaben, brought in Executive Chef David Suarez to lead the culinary creation process.
Brought up in their family restaurants La Ultima of Oakland, Danville and Walnut Creek, and Hof Brau and Hubcaps of Walnut Creek, the Ghaben/Gonzales family now has three generations of experienced restaurant owner-operators that oversee multiple East Bay locations of Mel’s Diners and Black Bear Diners and two Broderick Roadhouse locations.
“After years of successfully owning and operating more than a dozen restaurants for major franchising brands, we wanted to get back to our roots and create a place where we could make and share our own favorite foods and family recipes. At Batch & Brine, we have brought our multicultural background, creativity and extensive culinary experience together to create something absolutely amazing and unlike anything else in the East Bay,” says Gonzales.
With a menu rooted in the family's passion for bold flavors and seasonal food, the ownership team and Executive Chef Suarez, an alum of the French Culinary Institute and former culinary director for Rosa Mexicano, are expanding the definition of the classic burger at Batch & Brine, and also offering hearty appetizers, salads, sliders, loaded fries, and weekend brunch. At Batch & Brine, burgers are the main event, but these burgers are globally inspired and take the concept of a hand-held meal to a new level. On the opening menu, guests will find nine, crave-worthy burger creations blending flavors and ingredients that celebrate the family’s Mediterranean and New Mexican heritage. Must-try burgers include patriarch Zafer Abu-Ghaben’s Kufta Burger and Falafel Burger, Chef Suarez’s Steak au Poivre Burger, and Victor Ghaben’s Hatch Chile Burger, featuring the one-of-a-kind “Hatch” chile, which is grown only in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley. Other staples on the menu include pickle-brined chicken and house-made pastrami sandwiches; kale, beet, cauliflower or grilled ribeye salads; the Shaved Ribeye Bao Slider; and a French fry selection topped with duck confit, Hatch chile verde, or pastrami and cheese.
The Batch & Brine brunch menu features an array of eggs Benedict options, such as Salmon, Veggie, Southern and Traditional, and signature dishes such as the PB&J Stuffed French Toast, Chile Verde with Eggs, and Chicken-Fried Ribeye Steak and Eggs. Led by mixologist Casey Carr and wine consultant Nate Hudson, Batch & Brine’s extensive beverage program offers rotating, globally-inspired craft cocktails and spirits that complement the vibrant menu, a wine selection of small-production artisanal wines available by the glass, and 20 craft beers on tap.
Featuring a creative, modern design by Crome Architecture and finishes by Anne Sacco Interiors, the space combines neighborhood cool and upscale fun. The architectural layout is reminiscent of a classic tavern or whiskey bar, but with an overlay of modern finishes such as geometric tiles, tall windows and contemporary art in an indoor-outdoor space that perfectly suits Lafayette’s warm climate. The light, open and airy restaurant space offers a dynamic dining ambiance with custom-painted murals by Berk Visual, known for his illustrations and street art. The dining space includes communal tables, booths, a lounge area, an interactive activity board, and a colored cement bar which serves as the focal point of the restaurant. In addition to custom murals, Berk Visual has also designed menus, coasters, tee-shirts, inlays, and funky bathroom stalls, exclusively for Batch & Brine.
The exterior of Batch & Brine is wrapped in reclaimed wood with carefully placed living walls filled with indigenous succulents. The large, wrap-around patio space in front of the restaurant features additional lounge seating, a fire pit, communal and bistro tables, market lighting, and forged iron finishes, creating a setting unique to downtown Lafayette.
Beginning this spring, Batch & Brine will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner; brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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