Fette Sau, the barbecue operation that Stephen Starr is bringing to life in the city’s Fishtown section is about four weeks out from making its debut on Frankford Avenue. Joe Carroll, who owns the Brooklyn original, and partnered with Starr to recreate it here, says he was already looking to expand Fette Sau outside of New York around the time he met the “King of Restaurants.” Opening in Philly, he said was a no brainer. “Philly, without a doubt, made the most sense for a bunch of reasons,” Carroll told Grub. “There’s a good food scene, a great fucking beer scene, and it’s just two hours from my home.”
Carroll’s handling most to the design work himself, while longtime Starr collaborator Richard Stokes is on board for the architectural know-how. The indoor-outdoor space will have a very similar vibe as its Brooklyn-based predecessor. It will feature a ramshackle recreation of a roadside shack, a large brick courtyard with outdoor seating, a bar and communal seating indoors. Only the meat chart-covered walls and makeshift tap handles wrought from butchering and barbecue equipment were lifted directly from the Fette Sau mothership.
The menu will offer a variety of smoked meats sold by the pound at the meat counter. There will be no table service whatsoever. As far as a regional barbecue styles go, Carroll, a self-taught pit-master, says his menu does not comply with any of the established schools.
“I grew up in North Jersey, my family’s all from the Bronx, and I cannot in any way claim any sort of barbecue lineage,” Carroll explained. “I learned barbecue by staying up all night, drinking beer, and smoking weed in my parents backyard.”
He adds that he stays “very true” to the technique of barbecue, and serves traditional cuts, like pork shoulder, brisket and ribs. At the same time though, he’s built a solid reputation for his non-traditional dishes, like pork belly, beef cheeks and pork cheeks, as well as some ‘super non-traditional’ things like flank steak and rib-eye. The majority of the pork that comes in is of the whole hog variety, which means his crews butcher them on premises, and cook just about everything but the oink.
When he first opened in Brooklyn, he wanted to present tastes that were familiar to locals. That’s how things like pastrami and beef tongue found there way to the menu. Carroll adds that when opened, the Fishtown location will have a few items with a local connection. He wouldn’t say what exactly, but said it wouldn’t be a cheesesteak.
On the beverage side of things, Carroll told us that Fette Sau will have ten taps at the bar, of which nine will be dedicated to mostly house and local craft brews. One will always have cider. The only beer that will find its way from Brooklyn to Philly will be the custom Vienna Pale Ale from Sixpoint Craft Brewery. Tom Baker at Mt. Airy’s Earth Bread + Brewery is signed on to brew a house beer that will feature Carroll’s secret dry rub as an ingredient. Dock Street brewer Scott Morrison is contributing a Pennsylvania-style porter, and Sly Fox’s Brian O’Reilly is making a swanky, a pre-prohibition style of beer that was malty, low-ABV and flavored with licorice.
Earlier: Starr-B-Que Coming to Fishtown