For those who’ve been following the FanHouse saga, the Floyd Avenue restaurant’s newest chapter started last week. Zoning issues nearly sidelined the business, but owner Sunny Zhao has brought on managing partner Bobby Kruger and the craft-cocktail exemplar already is making his mark.
Kruger, formerly of Julep’s and its late-night speakeasy persona the Mint, will find himself in competition with his previous employer. Julep’s owner, Amy Cabaniss, is opening a Fan District version of the bar in the former Davis & Main space. Kruger wasn’t part of those plans and connected with Zhao, eager to explore the restaurant’s Asian flavor profiles and create a new cocktail menu.
“It’s very exciting,” Kruger says, “and we’re bringing on an all-bartender serving staff,” with some of the city’s best-known bar personnel. They’ll create and serve drinks made with gin, sake and soju (a sweet, rice-based liquor), using ingredients such as yuzu and shiso to pair with a small-plates menu of FanHouse recipes that encourage pairing and sharing.
Customers here and elsewhere have embraced the craft cocktail movement. “If you’re not doing fresh ingredients, you’re way behind the pack,” Kruger says. “Customers want something well-made and fresh. The culture of learning about food and beverages has caught hold.”
FanHouse is open Tuesday through Saturday, 2526 Floyd Ave. 612-8888. fanhouse.net.