Spirit has long been known as a popular haunt for live music and events. But with an expanded menu and plans for a rooftop veggie garden and dining space, it may soon be thought of first as a full-service eatery with delicious dishes.
“We put a lot of effort into it and it’s always tricky when people don’t think of us as a restaurant,” co-owner Tom Barr says. “We want to get the word out that we’re here for that, too. The whole business plan was to be just as much about food as events and music. We’re a three-piece band.”
Barr opened the business four years ago in Lawrenceville’s 10,000-square-foot former Moose Lodge 581, where his great-grandfather was a member.
On Saturdays beginning at 11 a.m., head to Spirit for bagels, lox and bacon — all made on-site by new chef Dave Rath and his crew. Along with smaller a la carte items such as grapefruit brûlée and biscuits with gravy, Spirit also serves gut-busting portions, inluding French toast with peach compote and hanger steak with fried eggs, veggies and focaccia toast.
If you prefer to start your day with a slice or two (or 10!), order the pizza and salad buffet on its own or with the purchase of a larger plate.
Sunday’s Ultra-Unlimited Pizza & Brunch Buffet includes a seasonal salad bar, three pizza options and everything from quiche, rice pudding and bacon to French toast, zucchini fritters and biscuits with various gravies, all for $15.
Not an early riser? Spirit’s dinner menu boasts items including addictive fried artichokes and vegan black pepper tagliatelle. Pizza by the slice or pie is served until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and until midnight Sunday through Wednesday.
Top it off with a homemade ice cream sandwich or a potent selection from the bar’s revamped cocktail menu.
Barr hopes the new offerings will attract people who might’ve dismissed Spirit as a foodie destination, especially once the rooftop garden opens.
The restaurant already sources many of its ingredients from a neighboring green space and from planters on their dog-friendly patio. The new rooftop spot will grow more fresh produce in-house and double as a private dining and event area. It’s scheduled to open by the fall of 2020.
Along with a crowdfunding page, Spirit will raise money for the project by holding a barbecue and In Bed By Ten Dance Party on July 20.
Family, friends and a team of dedicated employees helped Barr create Spirit in 2015 and he’s confident that they’ll be there as he’s busy expanding the business.
“That’s the spirit of the Moose,” he says. “It was for everyone. It was full of life. You came here for weddings and shows, and you ate and celebrated life with family and friends. The only thing that’s changed is you don’t have to be a member now.”