Venison meatballs. Vegan hot dogs topped with kimchi and cheese. Mussels served in a pomegranate-lemon broth.
These are just a few dishes in a long, ever-changing list of adventurous cuisine combinations on the menu at the Little Bird Craft Kitchen, Ever Grain Brewing Co.’s new culinary counterpart.
With high-quality, flavorful craft beers, Ever Grain has quickly developed a reputation as a haven for beer-lovers within the Harrisburg area. Now, it’s looking to do the same with food. Little Bird’s menu gives the customer casual and fine dining options with modernist plating, high-end ingredients and flavors from across the world in a laidback brewery environment.
It was designed by the kitchen’s head chef Kurt Wewer, who earned a reputation regionally at the New Cumberland restaurants, the Garlic Poet and Grain + Verse.
When these restaurants closed in 2017, Ever Grain owners Norm Fromm and Larry Dolan approached Wewer with the idea of opening a kitchen alongside the brewery.
“It was the perfect timing,” Fromm said. “Larry and I knew the stuff that he did and the direction that he was going, and we were big fans of it.”
Their idea came to fruition earlier this year.
Ever Grain and Little Bird now sit side by side, located in the former Sun Motor Cars dealership along the Carlisle Pike. The kitchen and brewery are connected by what used to be a Sun Motors customer service window, which allows customers to order food inside the brewery.
The name “Little Bird” was inspired by Wewer’s now 4-year-old daughter who, when she was too young to talk, would tilt her head up like a baby bird as a way of asking her dad to try the food he was making. She seemed like the most adventurous eater, Wewer said, confidant that whatever her chef-father was making, it would be something good.
His goal with Little Bird is to make diners feel that courageous, too.
“We really like the idea of people coming and trusting that they’re going to like what they get, which makes them comfortable and willing to try something that they may have never tried before,” said Wewer.
He’s proud of the fact that his kitchen uses a network of local purveyors for many of its ingredients and works with condiments and spices not often seen at other modern American-style restaurants, regularly incorporating Asian, Middle Eastern and Caribbean flavors.
This is because Wewer revels in working with unusual ingredients—things diners won’t easily find at other gastropubs in central PA. In May, he spent five hours sous-viding octopus (a precise technique used to cook food evenly), and he’s excited for his August delivery of a native North American fruit called paw-paws.
The kitchen also has a bar, stocked with local wine and spirits. Wewer has created a wine and cocktail list with the help of Aaron Cheney, a mixologist friend he previously worked with at the Garlic Poet.
Little Bird’s menu has convenient beer, wine and cocktail pairing suggestions listed under every dish. With its help, one might order Ever Grain’s Udder One with the fried green tomatoes or a Camp Pils to go alongside the kitchen’s calamari.
Business-wise, Wewer said, being able to pair his food with original drinks like this was one of the reasons he jumped at the opportunity to create Little Bird—and one of the reasons Fromm and Dolan offered him the chance in the first place.
“That’s why they came to me,” he said. “They wanted me to come in and create food that was of the quality of their beer. Both ways, we both thought it was a perfect fit.”
Ever Grain Brewing Co.’s Little Bird Craft Kitchen is located at 4444 Carlisle Pike, Camp Hill. For more information, visit www.evergrainbrewing.com/content/our-food.