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Inside Spike Gjerde’s Parts and Labor

January 20, 2014

IMG_20140120_162130Baltimore home cooks rejoice, you’re finally getting a proper butcher in the city.  As much as you love the surly dude behind the Safeway counter, come early March you’ll have a proper spot to get your extra thick pork chops cut when Spike Gjerde and his ever growing Woodberry Kitchen empire open their farm-to-table butchery Parts and Labor (2600 North Howard Street).

Located in Remington, the meat-haven will offer a retail butcher shop, an 85 seat restaurant, and beer focused bar with 24 taps.  Meat things and beer? Yes please. Corey Polyoka, Woodberry’s beverage and bar manager, told us their beer offerings will take the same philosophy as their food and focus on local suds; specifically featuring beers from newly legal Class 8M Farmstead Breweries around the state.

“Brewing was [originally] all about utilizing grain at the end of the season, and, with new legislation, it’s back so we want to focus on that and dedicate taps as a way to help them grow and to get their name out there, and see where that industry can go.”

To help serve the beer, they’re utilizing a truly unique beer tap system that enables for “multiple serving temps, multiple gasses, and really taking care of beer and pouring it in a way that showcases it.”  There will also be the option of taking beer home from a soon-to- be-installed growler station.

Turning to the food side, the culinary centerpiece will be a massive 12’x5’ stone hearth where the majority of the cooking will be done in an open kitchen setting.  “We’ll be using [the] hearth in a style that exemplifies mid-Atlantic cooking,” says Polyoka.  The new butchery will also allow for expansion of Woodberrys current offerings, with all meats being sourced from local farms and available for purchase to take home to your own kitchen.

We’re told that the current plan is to open the first weekend in March, with one of their first events being a customer-judged homebrew competition going down March 30th.  Enough time to score that prescription of Lipitor you’re gonna need.

  • Muriel Cruickshank

    Fantastic! I read about this in the Sun many many months ago, and I’m so excited that it is opening soon! Now I can get those “unusual” cuts of meat without the the Safeway butcher giving me a funny look.

  • Too scared to say

    I hope this turns out to be better than the other Woodberry Kitchen stepchildren, Artifact Coffee and Shoo-fly Diner, which are ok but, at least for me, they beg the question – Is Spike spreading himself too thin in trying to recreate the magic of Woodberry Kitchen?

    Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderfully decorated, ambience perfected, beautiful architecturally inspired foodie havens…but I think that is starting to turn into a case of “too much of a good thing” for Spike, and his food is starting to take a back seat. Woodberry Kitchen is still thriving, undoubtedly, but the new spinoffs…not so much.

    People want good food period, and they want it at a reasonable price. Atmosphere only goes so far, and sooner or later patrons will begin to realize that there are, simply, much better options out there. A new trend is small, simple, quaint places that are serving top notch food at a good price, y’know, the kind of price that won’t unjustifiably break the bank. Places like Bottega, Puerto 511, and for a great lunch that, even though mostly vegetarian and vegan, is a far better and yet more economical choice, Red Emma’s.

    I was recently at Red Emma’s and ordered the half Bahn mi sandwich with a cup of split pea soup. The total cost for that was $7 ($4 for the sandwich and $3 for the soup), and I was perfectly satisfied and full afterwards, not to mention how delicious it was. The full sandwich will run you $7 total, compared to $11 at Artifact for the same sandwich. Did I mention the setting at Red Emma’s is awesome too? Such a grand, light-filled space that feels fresh and comfortable/cozy at the same time.

    As for Artifact, well I’m not impressed at all. If I pay $13 for a tuna melt, I expect more than just a tuna melt. Ok, one could argue that you do get more than just the tuna melt, you get a few slices of raw radish on the side. Really? I’m sorry, just NO. Same thing goes for their egg salad sandwich. Give me chips and a pickle on the side please! Make them in-house if you have to (doesn’t Spike pickle everything anyway?)! I don’t care how you do it, but please, just do it! But what do I know about food…I digress, sorry.

    I won’t even get into how greasy everything on the menu was there, especially in the beginning. They’ve gotten a lot better but geez, I felt like I needed to wash my face after every bite of one of their butter bread sandwiches or various soup options. I love my butter, but I don’t love it seeping it out of my skin after one innocent lunch. What do they do well – coffee and baked goods. They shine there, for sure, but the savory portion of the menu is not very good, and is overpriced, especially in comparison to other outfits that give you more, better, and cheaper all at the same time. I understand it’s a “Spike Gjerde establishment, and it’s going to be inherently pricier than most, but if you want to get away with that you have to deliver in the food department. Otherwise, I just go home feeling like a sucker and imagine you counting my own personal dollar bills with a big grin on your face. When I go to Woodberry Kitchen, I never regret spending any amount of money there, because it fucking delivers man, y’know? These other spots – they don’t deliver.

    Shoo-fly Diner is still new to me, as I have only visited twice. But, from what I have seen so far I would say it’s not doing a bad job. But something is missing, and I have yet to pinpoint what it is. It’s fairly inexpensive, yes, but just feels like you’re run of the mill place given the Spike Gjerde glitter treatment. “Oh my god, a hot toddy for $6, this is great!” And then you drink it and you want to spit it out. The beer/shake thingies are fabulous though…malty, thick, alcoholic goodness for us fatties and lushes. The happy hour is pretty awesome too, where you can get a $6 burger platter. But of course, it only comes with chips, not fries. But hey, can’t complain for $6. Good job there. That’s really all I’ve had there and I’m sure I’ll go back sometime soon, but I won’t make it a point to have to go there. Plus, what’s with all the kid-friendly stuff? Barf.

    Let’s hope this new butcher shop/restaurant from Spike won’t change the way we historically have always thought about butcher shops, as a place where the community comes together and feels invested in the local offerings. I know I’ll only feel invested if the meat is reasonably priced and the food offerings are better, or at least as good as, the current competition that is springing up. Otherwise, his empire will eventually be seen as some sort of evil local food oligarchy thinga-ma-jigger. Ew!

  • Jamie Schott

    I’m a meatatarian. It’s a lifestyle choice, ya know.

  • Wait and see

    Hoping for the best for Spike’s new venture in my neighborhood! The recent news that Harbor East’s Townhouse Kitchen closed it’s doors has me asking…..what happens to Remington if these new fancy pants ventures don’t turn profits?

    Well, I’ll still be eating and spending my cash at the Dizz.