SOUTHINGTON – Smokey barbecue can be paired with over 350 unique whiskey and bourbon labels at Que Whiskey Kitchen on Queen Street, which combines a casual restaurant vibe with a Southern feel.
“A little piece of Nashville here in Connecticut,” said general manager Sean Brennan.
A mural outside depicts a country scene leading to the restaurant interior with wood and metal decor. Behind the bar is a library of whiskey and bourbon ranging from Jack Daniel’s to Redemption Wheated Bourbon.
“We wanted something different,” said guest services director Jennifer Lamantini before the restaurant officially opened in December. “We really liked the idea of BBQ and the whole whiskey bar scene.”
The restaurant is owned by Hartford Restaurant Group, which also owns Wood-n-Tap Bar and Grill across the street.
Que Whiskey Kitchen specializes in housemade rubs and barbecue sauce for its menu of brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and wings.
Barbecue sauce flavors include “Memphis Mango,” and “Texas Heat.”
“Smoky proteins just in the flavor of the meat itself and then you have bourbon and whiskey, also very smoky,” Brennan said about pairing food and drinks. “There are certain notes in bourbon and whiskeys that could pair differently with different things, a little on the sweeter side.”
A selection of cocktails are offered to match every palette, like the “blackberry blaze” which uses Cleveland bourbon and a housemade sour for a tart yet sweet drink, complete with toasted rosemary.
The “queen street sour” pays tribute to the location with its name, created by the staff, and includes Old Forester bourbon, strawberry rhubarb and the house sour.
“They really go hand-in-hand and work in tandem in regards to flavor,” Brennan said of the drink possibilities.
When the weather warms up, Brennan said diners will be able to eat outside on the patio. The garage-style door can also be opened for an airy dining experience.
Brennan said the whiskey-bar concept will let customers try drinks they may have never tried otherwise.
“It gives you the opportunity to experience a little bit more,” he said. “It’s a unique experience.”