When you talk with Chef Teddy Folkman you can feel his passion for the beer, the food, and the atmosphere he has planned for BAROAK, opening March 5th at Lowes Annapolis Hotel. That passionate personality is no surprise though; it’s what made him a finalist on The Next Food Network Star, and it’s his passion in the kitchen that helped him beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in a mussels and fries (moules frites) throwdown. Now he wants to bring that same passion to food and beer on Annapolis’ West Street.
For the beer selection Chef Teddy plans something not yet seen in Annapolis, “Loews was cool with us bringing in beers that they’ve never had in the hotel before,” he says. BAROAK will have 14 taps serving both Belgian and American craft beers, with seven rotating constantly. The menu will also have 60 bottles, with 50 of those either being Belgian or American brewed Belgian-style beers. The wide selection has a heavy Belgian representation, but BAROAK isn’t a Belgian restaurant.
The menu has signature Belgian dishes like mussels and steak frites, but also burgers, flatbreads, and rockfish shrimp and grits. “This isn’t a Belgian menu.” says Teddy. “This is a pub inspired menu with a Belgian fetish.” And what else would you expect from a former National Culinary Ambassador for the Belgian beer powerhouse Duval Moortgat? As the culinary ambassador he traveled the US pairing foods with beers from this family owned Belgian beer giant that is behind breweries like Duvel, La Chouffe, Boulevard, and Ommegang. All of this is experience he plans to leverage at BAROAK.
Chef Teddy has been around food and beer for years, and wants to open new doors for the Annapolis beer scene. “I have great relationships with some incredible brewers, and when they go to DC or Baltimore we’ll bring them to Annapolis.” He continues, “all I have to say is ‘we’ll put you up in Loews’ fantastic hotel, and while you’re here we’ll have a beer dinner. Who is going to pass that up?'” Through his connections Chef Teddy wants to host the type of beer events that Annapolitans had to travel to DC or Baltimore to find in the past, along with unique specials throughout each week.
Sunday will be for big bottles, with special Belgian beers like Duvel and Chimay served from bottles as large as five liters (over ten pints per bottle)!
Monday will have $12 mussels; Chef Teddy’s version of this very traditional Belgian dish.
Tuesday will be locals’ night, where you get 12.6% off your bill if you live in one of Annapolis’ three zipcodes.
Wednesday will be a night for specialty beer flights that rotate weekly.
Chef Teddy also plans a special beer cage, with rare gems you likely won’t find anywhere else in Maryland. These beers won’t be on the menu or even for sale, and will only be brought out for very rare, and very special occasions.
BAROAK also plans to have a Social Media Customer of the Month, with their own reserved bar stool, and their own beer on draft. Details are a little short on how this special customer will be selected, but Chef Teddy said to expect them to be those that actively engage BAROAK’s Facebook page or other social media.
Of course you should know that I’m a huge fan of Belgian beers, and I cannot wait to see what BAROAK brings to Annapolis!