Roger Harvey, bar manager at Franktuary in Lawrenceville, had a revelation when he started updating the restaurant's cocktail menu: Most of the drinks were made with spirits that had been distilled far away. "There was all this branding on the menu for companies that we had no relationship with," he says.
So he decided to make a big change by introducing a "Local Libations" menu — one devoted to drinks made with Pennsylvania spirits. "We want to reinvest in our own communities," Harvey says. "I want to give as much money as I can to people that we know."
Curiously, perhaps, the cocktail menu doesn't include the names of the local brands; it uses generic terms like "rye" or "vodka" instead. "We want people to ask," says Harvey. "It's about starting a conversation [about local distilleries]," Harvey says.
The restaurant's 10-tap beer system also got a local makeover. Almost all the beer on tap is brewed in Pennsylvania, as is the nearly alcohol-free Red Star Kombucha.
However, Harvey says, "We've built really great relationships with a few out-of-town breweries — Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company, for example — and we don't want to burn those bridges." So he's keeping one tap open for what he's calling "imports": Franktuary-friendly domestic beers produced outside the area. There will still be a selection of bottles from around the country and the world.
As for wine, Harvey says that while he respects local winemakers, there aren't enough quality Pennsylvania wines to compile a full list. "We wanted to find the best varieties from as close as we could," he says. So alongside a red and a white from the Strip District's Pittsburgh Winery, customers will find a riesling from the Finger Lakes, a chardonnay from Long Island and even a rosé from New Mexico.
Harvey says that this is just the start of Franktuary's focus on local libations: "We're still just learning more and more every day."