Young and Hungry

Still Pondering Its Future, Blue Ridge Launches Its Own Oktoberfest

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As you might remember, the guys over at Blue Ridge pulled the plug on their previous chef-driven concept and quietly launched a craft beer program at their Glover Park operation. As part of the new-look Blue Ridge, owners Eli Hengst and Jared Rager are now debuting their own Oktoberfest. You can think of it as a sort of post-Oktoberfest Oktoberfest, this one actually in October

It starts Tuesday, Oct. 12, with a community kick-off party, and continues through Oct. 18 with beer tastings, beer movies (!), and a custom-made dinner designed by consulting chef Frank Morales, who will be working with beer manager Amanda Earley to match dishes with products from the Southampton brewery.

Blue Ridge will have eight new taps installed by the time its Oktoberfest begins, giving the restaurant 12 draft lines to draw from. A few taps will be dedicated to breweries popular with the regulars, including Bell's and Dogfish Head, Hengst told me this afternoon.

"The rest is up to popular demand — to a degree," Hengst says. "It's not entirely democratic."

If this sounds like an official coming-out party for Blue Ridge, it's not. Not really. Hengst says he and his partner have delayed the proposed renovations on their space until they can get a clearer picture of what people want from Blue Ridge.

"We're planning to run this way through the winter and see what the neighborhood thinks," Hengst says about the current beer and burger-heavy concept as designed by Morales. "If this is what they like, we're going to keep on doing it."

But Hengst and Rager want to use this interim period to study their options and consider the public input. They could tweak their restaurant to include a breakfast menu, they could try a more wide-ranging Northside Social-type concept, or something entirely different. They still might change the restaurant's name, too. But whatever the owners decide, Hengst said it will include a strong American craft beer program.

"Right now," Hengst adds, "we're having a good time."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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