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Rooks Tavern serves up rustic, flame-kissed comfort food

Rooks Tavern serves up rustic, flame-kissed comfort food

614now Staff

Describing itself as a “rustic eatery,” the new Rooks Tavern in the University District at the corner of Chittenden Avenue and Summit Street will be serving up barbecued meat–lots of it–but it’s not quite that simple.

Owners and high school friends John Havens and Aaron Mercier note that all barbecue really means is cooking with real fire, so expect to see foraged roasted veggies, flame-kissed fish and even stews on the menu, in addition to barbecue classics like pulled pork and ribs.

“Why not? Vegans deserve decent food too,” Havens said.

Of course, there will be beer on the menu as well–and with a drink comes a slice of ham, carved right at the bar.

Bar ham? Why not?

You’ll notice the “rustic” aspects of Rooks are borderline Medieval, but that’s intentional. In the past, the two owners have hosted “pop-up dinners” around town, one of which had a Game of Thrones theme.

And did we mention that Mercier, a former chef at Blue Ox BBQ in Texas, has a degree in Medieval literature?

If the food is as good as it is eclectic, the diverse offerings of Rooks Tavern could speak to a wide audience.

Plus, the 2,400 square-foot space will seat 58 inside and 32 on its front patio, adjacent to which will be bike racks, which Havens hopes will draw cyclists from Summit Street’s new bike lanes.

Rooks doesn’t have a concrete open date yet, but Havens and Mercier plan on opening the restaurant by the end of 2016.


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