CONCORD, NH – As breweries increasingly play host to pop-up restaurants and food trucks, thanks in part to a change in state law last year, new restaurants now have a new way to build buzz before opening.
One such restaurant is Georgia’s North Side, a new barbecue and southern cuisine take-out place that’s coming to 394 North State St. in Concord in June.
“This is just a vehicle to flex my kitchen muscles, as it were, and to show people what I’m about,” Natkiel said. “I’m about community, I’m about a good time.”
Natkiel first set up at Lithermans on April 26, when he served brisket sandwiches, and brought his friend, rapper Craig G, who performed at the event.
Lithermans co-owner Michael Hauptly-Pierce said he’s noticed other breweries, like Able Ebenezer in Merrimack, hosting food trucks more recently. Once he cleared it with the state, he invited Natkiel to create the pop-up restaurant inside the brewery.
“It’s a revenue increaser, it puts butts in seats … and it helps someone else that I like,” Hauptly-Pierce said.
According to an industry circular sent by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission last November, a brewery can prepare its own food and make it available to visitors on their premises, based on existing licensing requirements for breweries of certain sizes.
“The brewer may also use the services of caterers, food trucks or other restaurants licensed by the NH Department of Public Health Protection or by one of the self-inspecting communities,” the circular states.
The Liquor Commission sent out the circular in part because of an increase in questions from the alcohol licensed community about whether they can meet their license requirements by having a food truck on the premises. The circular clarified that if a brewer has a nano plus license or greater, they must still provide a regular menu of food from in-house, but that doesn’t bar them from also playing host to outside food producers, as long as they are also properly licensed.
Natkiel owned a popular restaurant in Manhattan called Georgia’s East BBQ, which was featured on the New York Times and other major news outlets.
But eventually, he had to close the business because years of construction on his block had “suffocated everything,” Natkiel said.
He said he just wanted to return to his home state of New Hampshire and create something similar here. He dropped barbecue from the restaurant name, hoping to offer a wide variety of southern cuisine.
While the New York restaurant was a popular hangout for old-school rappers and artists, he said, the new 1,450-square-foot Concord restaurant, located just past the state prison, will be for take-out and delivery only.
But Natkiel said he still loves entertaining seated guests with drinks and live music, so even after he’s opened his restaurant, he said would be “absolutely” interested in doing future pop-up events.