In the spotlight: Side Bar & Restaurant
● By J. Chambless
Blaise Labik, one of two executive chefs at the Side Bar & Restaurant, accepts the award for the Chef's Best competition.
For this year’s Chef’s Best competition, Blaise Labik, one of two executive chefs at the Side Bar & Restaurant, prepared a Korean barbecue short rib slider with a choice of green onion slaw or a spicy Kimachi slaw.
The dish was so popular, according to Hallie Romanowski, that there was a steady line of people waiting to try the slider throughout the evening. At the end of the night, the Side Bar & Restaurant was the winner of the Chef’s Best competition.
“People seemed to enjoy it,” Labik said, “so I was really happy.”
So was Romanowski. She is the executive director of ACT in Faith, an interfaith ministry that provides physical, financial, and spiritual support to people in the Greater West Chester area who are lacking basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing. The Chef’s Best competition has been a successful fundraiser for ACT in Faith for the last five years because West Chester chefs like Labik lend their culinary talents to the event. Guests get to sample the best food in West Chester. This year’s Chef’s Best competition included Spence 312 (the winner of this event in 2015), Avalon, and the High Street Caffe.
Romanowki said that the 2016 event attracted more than 180 people and raised more than $25,000 for ACT in Faith.
Winning the contest was nice, Labik said, but it was even better to help out the West Chester community.
“It’s a very good charity, and it’s good to support the local community in any way possible,” Labik explained.
Jon Traina, one of two co-managers at the Side Bar & Restaurant, said that Labik and Dave Young III, also an executive chef at the restaurant, like to make “elevated versions of everyday foods” to pair with the large selection of craft beers.
Labik likes to grab a cookbook off the shelf, pick a recipe for a classic dish, and then find a way to put a creative, modern spin on it.
“You can still have a lot of fun with them,” Labik explained of the classic dishes.
He and Young will also work collaboratively to come up with new ideas.
“We bounce ideas off each other,” Labik explained.
Labik added that the Side Bar & Restaurant also hosts beer dinners that pair beers with dinner. Information about upcoming special events can be found at www.sidebarandrestaurant.com, or by calling 610-429-8297. The restaurant is very active on social media, including Twitter. The Side Bar Restaurant is located at 10 East Gay Street.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email email@example.com.