Partners Matthew Beason and chef John Eisensmith are planning to open a cider-focused restaurant, Black Twig Cider House, in the Six Plates wine bar space in Durham.
Six Plates will close March 11 before the pair renovate to create the first cider house restaurant in the Southeast with as many as 60 to 80 different ciders.
Beason, who also owns Mattie B’s Public House, also in Durham, has become a cider expert in recent years; he was one of eight instructors for the U.S. Association of Cider Makers at the first Cider Conference in Portland, Oregon. Beason
“Today, cider represents the fastest-growing segment in the beverage industry,” explained Beason in a press release. Beason became passionate about cider 10 years ago when he traveled through Spain’s Basque region. “As soon as I experienced those outstanding ciders, the culture and communal aspect around the (cider), and all the rituals surrounding cider, I knew I wanted to make it part of the Durham community.”
Six Plates opened eight years ago long before downtown Durham became so robust with restaurants and bars. Beason’s wine bar, which served a rotating menu of six seasonal dishes, developed a loyal following due to its wine selection and Beason’s hospitality.
Among the restaurant’s most popular dishes are the lamby joes, a take on sloppy joes made with ground lamb and chorizo sausage that has been on the menu since it opened. Don’t worry lamby joes fans: they are also served at Mattie B’s Public House.
During Six Plates’ final weeks, Eisensmith will feature favorite dishes from the restaurant’s eight-year run, including pea shoot salad with a warm bacon balsamic vinaigrette and sunny side up quail egg; tune tartare with watermelon, ginger sesame granola and siracha peanut butter; bacalao omelet with Mahon cheese, frisée, piquillo peppers and Romesco; pork shank risotto with parsnips, peas and roasted mushrooms; flatbread with béchamel, broccoli and Beecher’s cheddar; and pho soup with local beef, rice noodles, cilantro, basil and Thai chiles.
Six Plates’ closing is bad news for fans of the annual Txakolifest, one-day festival devoted to Spain’s Basque wine region; txakoli fans will have to find it elsewhere in the Triangle.
Six Plates is located at 2812 Erwin Road, Suite 104, Durham.
For more information on the new restaurant, go to: BlackTwigCiderHouse.com, Twitter @BlackTwigDurham or Instagram @BlackTwigCiderHouse.