John Bush, David Massoni and Dale Talde’s soon-to-open bar on Fifth Avenue near Carroll Street is going to be called Pork Slope.
Although Aunt Suzie’s , the tables, chairs, silverware and glassware will remain and be used by the patrons of Pork Slope.
, will open sometime this summer and bring Fifth Avenue a roadhouse-style bar and restaurant with a focus on whiskey, bourbon, rye and scotch and southern food.
It’s going to be an “after work” type of place, Bush said, who will be the beverage proprietor (or, more appropriately considering his skills, the mixologist) and will actually work a couple of shifts. He also said he wants to model it after the Lower East Side bar Max Fish.
“I am creating this place so I don’t have to be the weird creepy guy at Max Fish anymore,” Bush said, explaining that being in his 40s makes him feel too old to go to his favorite Manhattan bar. “This is going to be our Max Fish, with good music, Dale’s awesome food, a pool table in the back and a big window in front to people watch.”
Bush said that they are making Pork Slope for themselves, so they have a place to hang out in after their shifts at Talde and . But, it’s not just a selfish project—it’s also one for the community.
“I want to make my neighborhood better by building places that I want to go to,” Bush said while standing behind the unfinished 35-foot bar which is an antique mantelpiece made out of maple and will be the inspiration for the rest of the space. “And hopefully everyone will follow.”
His bar will focus on dark brown American liquor.
“We are going to have obscure whiskey, bourbon, rye and scotch,” Bush said. “Anything I can find that I haven’t seen before, I am buying.”
But Bush said he hasn’t forgotten about beer: Pork Slope will have 25 beers on tap, even more in cans (PBR, Black Label, Milwaukee’s Best, National Bohemian) and bottles. They will offer a shot of whiskey and a Pabst Blue Ribbon for $5 and other deal incentives to drink.
“I am personally bringing back the pitcher,” Bush said, who lives above Pork Slope on Fifth Avenue and has installed a tap in his apartment’s kitchen with a beer line that runs from the kegs in the basement of his soon-to-be saloon.
They will also have five unique cocktails, one of which will be a Bloody Mary, but will be made with scotch instead of vodka.
Bush said they are not trying to compete with nearby bars like the High Dive, but rather create a bigger nightlife.
“This block is getting cooler and cooler and we’re going to be here because we think it’s missing a place like Pork Slope,” Bush explained, who worked at the bar Niagara in Manhattan for 13 years.
Although it will be a bar, it is also going to have food. And, the food will be made by no one else except Dale Talde.
“We’re doing some barbeque, ribs, pulled pork, brisket and smoked meats,” Dale Talde said, who is the chef at, well, Talde on Seventh Avenue. He also added that he will serve chicken wings, a griddle burger, artisanal American hams that “eat like prosciutto,” biscuits, cornbread, Chicago-style hotdogs (pulling inspiration from his hometown) and chili.
But, he is most excited about his tater tots that will be cooked in pork fat.
“I made tater tots the other night at Talde in a wok and all the employees were hovering over me,” Talde said, who has most of his culinary experience in . “They were plucking them out of the wok while they were piping hot, they could not wait. They smelled too good.”
He said that he used to eat tater tots every day at lunch while in school as a kid, but that is not the only reason he will be cooking them. The reason is a little more primal than nostalgia.
“After tasting f@#$ing lo mein noodles for 13 hours, this is the food I crave,” Talde said, explaining that Pork Slope will be the trio’s drink and food refuge after they leave Talde. “The last thing I want to eat are noodles.”
With a southern-style menu and a down-home aesthetic, Pork Slope will have a roadhouse atmosphere. There will be no table service, Massoni explained, who will be the front-of-the-house manager. When patrons get hungry, Massoni said, it’s up to them to order something.
“This is a bar, a bar, a bar,” Massoni said, stressing that they will not have waiters or table service. “When you get hungry you order from the bar.”
They will have delivery and takeout seven days a week, serve food until 2 a.m. and be open until 4 a.m.
On Saturday and Sunday there will be no “brunch,” the trio said. It’ll just be called “open,” Massoni said.
Talde will cook “Mexican hangover food” like a breakfast burrito and will also serve scrapple, egg and cheese sandwiches, an inspiration from Massoni’s childhood in Maryland.
“We will not be serving bull$@t eggs benedict or pancakes,” Talde explained.
But, most importantly for the guys, they want to have fun in a place they are building for themselves and the community.
“We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously, we are creating a bar that will be a fun place to be. It’s going to be a little quirky, it’s going to be a little campy,” Bush said. “But it’s going to be cool.”