Sausage platter featuring The Pig sausagesThe two diners seated at the table next to me were delighted to stumble upon the Pop-Up Beer Garden at Kitchen on June 17th. They thought the restaurant might be closed, as it usually is on Mondays. However, this week Kitchen regulars were treated to a special menu, two Aviator Brewing beers on tap, as well as a festive tuba and accordion duo to set the mood.

Kitchen chef/owner Dick Barrows said they were trying something different to highlight the patio space in front of the restaurant. Most of the tables from inside had been relocated to the makeshift beer garden. A menu stand displayed options available for the evening, a mix of familiar favorites, like mussels and fries, as well as special dishes appropriate for a beer garden fest. The pork and beef sausage platter featured sausages from The Pig, the whole hog barbecue restaurant found on Weaver Dairy Road. Accompaniments included pickled cabbage and dill potato salad — all perfect pairings for the limited edition double IPA cask Aviator Brewing brought to the party.

Pop Up Beer Garden on the patio at KitchenNathan Dean, a Chapel Hill native and Sales Director for Aviator Brewing Company, recalled a conversation during which he and Barrows discussed the under utilized patio space. And the beer garden pop-up event seemed a natural solution to highlight the al fresco dining option available at Kitchen. The patio space is appealing and feels intimate, surrounded by a half wall topped with planters, creating a natural partition from the surrounding environment. Large umbrellas provide shade during warm evenings, yet don’t obstruct the view of the setting sun.

Reservations weren’t necessary but by 7:30, just an hour in, diners had a short wait for seating at the popular event. Will there be future such events at Kitchen? Perhaps, after a short break in a couple of weeks, hinted Barrows, “We’ll see.” In the meantime, keep your eye on the Kitchen website and Facebook page for future announcements, and go enjoy dinner on the Kitchen patio!