Some restaurateurs are satisfied to stand aside and wait while their new eateries are built. But Gabriel Firman is constructing Hatchet Tap & Table with his own two hands. That's what happens when a restaurant-industry lifer turned construction manager goes back to the dining biz. After closing on the business on Monday, Firman set to work remaking 30 Bridge Street — which was home to the Bridge Street Café until October — into Richmond's newest locally focused restaurant. He plans to open in March.
How Vermont-centric is Hatchet? Firman is renovating the space using wood he personally collected from a century-old farmhouse in the Northeast Kingdom. But the owner sees his restaurant as a love letter to Richmond, where he moved in 2002.
Opening next to forthcoming bakery Sweet Simone's, Hatchet will fill the need for casual dining in the close-knit community.
The menu will focus on new takes on old classics, Firman says. "It's going to be a lot of pub fare with our own spin on it," he adds. That spin will be locally driven, too. Though Firman hasn't yet hired a chef, he promises that whatever lands on the menu will be crafted from "local, world-class producers of fine meats, cheese and drink."
Yes, drink. He anticipates that 24 taps will pour mostly local beer — though four of those taps may contain cask wine instead of suds. "Bearing witness to the booming craft-beer industry in Portland and Vermont, I really wanted to bring something like that to Richmond," Firman says.
Firman began working in the restaurant industry as a 15-year-old in his native Chicago. During 10 years in Portland, Ore., the fledgling restaurateur spent time in practically every restaurant job, climbing from serving and bussing to management. He'll use those skills — and his more recently honed construction chops — to bring to life the newest eatery in his adopted hometown.
"I have gone down this path with the best of intentions and hoping to round out the offerings of the amazing restaurants we already have," Firman says. "A rising tide lifts all ships!" Let the countdown begin...
Tom D.: I'm sorry to see Donny's close. They made great pizza there and the chef's father, Demetrius (sp?), was…
Michael Gaskin: I'm glad someone is finally meeting the untapped market demand for local beer in Chittenden County.
Sarah Muller: Can I apply for a position there?!
Samantha Winchell: I hope they bring back the chimichangas, so good!