Tim Wiechmann has flown below the radar for years at Huron Village's excellent T.W. Food, but he's ready to step into the limelight with Bronwyn. His long-awaited, moderately priced endeavor ("my artistic baby," he says) will open in Union Square on May 15 as the area's first modern German restaurant. Wiechmann won't release the full menu until opening night, but he talked with Grub Street about his favorite dishes and the power of pretzels.
"This whole restaurant was based around me getting in touch with my family and my history, and I was like, 'Great, put two and two together: Let's conquer the pretzels!'" says the German chef. "Pretzels have been underrepresented in this city."
These aren't the doughy twists you'd find at Red Sox games, though. Expect oversized pretzels served with dark beer and roasted apple mustards. They'll be made every hour or so, says Wiechmann, measuring up to twelve inches.
Carbs are a focus here: He's also proud of Bronwyn's specialty bread basket featuring whole grain, Old world ("not old!") bread. "Our bakery is a big deal," says Wiechmann. "I want people to feel like you can just drop in, have a specialty Aventinus, and a basket of bread."
Haxe, also known as braised pork knuckles, is another menu mainstay. It's slow-braised in dark German beer and served with potatoes; Bavarian half chicken marinated in pineapple is another signature. "It's a staple dish of Munich," he says.
Beers are German (no Belgian beers here); there are also some American craft beers brewed in the German style. The bar area is "huge" he says, and the beer list is "long but focused." About that bar: Wiechmann fashioned the furniture himself in the garage of his Carlisle home, building the bar and long wooden tables by hand throughout the winter. "I spent outside the bounds of what is 'normal' for opening a restaurant on this," he laughs.
Crucially, the price point is lower than at special-occasion T.W. Food. "It's like night and day," he says. "It's not subdued or subtle or quiet. It looks like an old, loud German tavern from the Middle Ages. The menu is longer, and the plates aren't composed. This isn't a luxury dining experience. We want people coming back again and again."
He'll continue to be a strong presence at T.W. Food alongside his wife, Bronwyn (for whom the restaurant is named). Jonathan Post, previously at Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger, will handle sous chef duties.
Bronwyn begins taking reservations on May 11. Also: Doesn't hurt that Anthony Bourdain is a fan.
Earlier: Tim Wiechmann Prowls for a Sous Chef
Bronwyn Will Open on May 15
Doesn't Bronwyn Look Cozy?
Anthony Bourdain: The First Person to Try Bronwyn?
T.W. Food's Tim Wiechmann Will Open Bronwyn in Union Square