Porch Kitchen, attached to the downtown Marriott hotel at 280 West Jefferson St, opens today and promises seven-days-a-week of bold flavors for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a beautiful dining room that has almost an art deco meets southwestern vibe with a classy blend of leather, wood, metal and succulent plants. Hotel Executive Chef Graham Weber and restaurant Executive Chef Joshua Carter told Food & Dining that the restaurant is southern style with a culinary twist and flair, but they spread out a bit from there.
“We have an independent test kitchen outside of Chicago where we developed and tested each of the recipes,” said Chef Weber. “We tested with some of our VIPS, and eight chefs [who were involved in the process] from all over the country have come down to train the staff here.”
Porch is the second hotel restaurant Chef Carter has helped launch in his 15 years of experience. Chef Weber has been at the Marriott for six years and said that they went after Chef Carter to oversee the restaurant based on his culinary skill, reputation and what he had done at the Corner at Aloft.
“I’m really into cool new concepts, great food, classic feel, and fresh ingredients,” Carter said. “I’m most excited about the overall feel that we are bringing across as a classic American place where people gather. The porch is the first place where you meet or greet someone. It’s just a real down home feel, and I’m excited about that.”
Weber said that he is excited about the menu. “I think the recipes and the food you’re going to see come out of this kitchen are definitely ingredient method driven and not like anything you’ve had in this city before. I’d say 90 percent of the menu is prepped that same day for that day, so it’s probably some of the freshest food you’re going to find in the city, and that’s going to shine through in the food presentation and in the flavors.”
Their lunch and dinner menu features a variety of foods like classic fried chicken, enchiladas, turkey meatloaf, and ribs but also dishes for those with special diets like a vegetarian chili or a chorizo style taco with cauliflower and quinoa that is seasoned with all the same seasonings as chorizo, making for a vegan dish with bold flavors. Even their breakfast promises some flair with dishes like toasted pecan bread pudding french toast, slow roasted brisket hash with an over easy egg and crispy tobacco onions or “ A Little Piggy” — corn and maple cake with pulled pork.
When asked about their favorite dishes, Chef Carter said he is partial to the salmon dish with quinoa pilaf and fresh vegetables and brown butter while Chef Weber says you absolutely have to try to the banana pie or peanut butter pie.
“The variation in the menu is very broad, so we have a little something for everyone,” said Chef Carter. “I don’t think there’s a person who could come in and not find something they love.
Chef Weber added, “If you’re in a group of six and one is a vegan, one loves barbecue and another wants to try signature fried chicken while they’re in Kentucky, you can do that here. Everyone can find something.”
Photography By Jessica Mathis: Hotel Executive Chef Graham Weber (left) and restaurant Executive Chef Joshua Carter