Lawrenceville's Franktuary offers Pennsylvania-only drink menu

"I want to give as much money as I can to people that we know."

| November 13, 2013

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."

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I think it's great but I have to disagree that there aren't enough quality Pennsylvania wines. We have so many wonderful wineries made by passionate people. Those closest to the "Burgh" that I can think of off hand with great quality are Kavic, Narcisi, Deer Creek, Walnut Hill, even R in the Strip, along with Enricco's own wine, plus so many more. There are also many from Northern and Eastern Pennsylvania that are endless. These wineries make wine comparable, if not better than those in other states. It's my own personal opinion but I think there are others out there that can agree. These places pack people who love their wines.

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Posted by Kristin on 11/13/2013 at 1:08 PM
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