When Keith and Heather Paul decided to put their Good Egg Dining spin on the gastropub, they determined early on that beer would be the star. One hundred taps and 250 bottles later, Republic Gastropub, 5830 N Classen Blvd., is a modern museum dedicated to the art of beer consumption. That becomes apparent immediately after walking through the amber glass entry and those 250 bottles of beer that tower overhead on a wall display. But Republic wouldn’t be a Good Egg concept if the food weren’t made with precision, detail, artistry and flavor. "Of all the places we’ve opened, I’ve never been this excited to eat the food,” Keith Paul said. Good Egg executive chef Robert Black and Republic chefs Chris McCabe and Luke Fry have designed a menu that celebrates beer and the pub tradition with an artist’s flair. Gastropubs began popping up in Europe in the early 1990s, adding quality food to the typical public house menu. Soon, gastropubs were being mentioned in the same breath with neighborhood bistros. Naturally, the concept jumped the pond. The challenge for chefs Black and McCabe was making sure Republic carried a strong Oklahoma interpretation. That means burgers, pork and doughnuts. Even traditional pub fare gets a prairie-pleasing preparation, such as the traditional Scotch egg — a hard-boiled egg wrapped in Portuguese linguica sausage — which is chicken-fried. Bangers and mash, another European pub staple, is bratwurst, potatoes served in an individual cast-iron skillet, and sauerkraut made in-house via a two-week process. They also feature domestic standards with a gourmet twist. On the BLT, you’ll find a fried green tomato rather than a red tomato slice. The Pork Reuben features pork belly in place of corned beef, maintaining the saltiness of the original but adding a concentration of the divining flavor that makes bacon the cure-all for any bland bite. Nachos come with pulled chicken, caramelized onions and red jalapenos. The potato skins are served with truffle-infused sour cream. And the Ahi Tuna Tartar is stacked with avocado relish and served with corn tortilla chips. For dessert, Meme’s Doughnuts are homemade cinnamon-sugar cake doughnuts that come with caramel, chocolate and strawberry jelly dipping sauces. They’ve also taken the root out of the root beer float, allowing diners to choose from Young’s Chocolate Stout or Lindeman’s Framboise served over a scoop of vanilla. Yes, a beer float, and it works. Each recipe Black and McCabe designed had beer in mind for either a pairing or as an ingredient. The Pauls wanted to redefine the gastropub experience with a wholly American menu, but no pub exists without beer as the foundation. Yes, it’s intrinsic to each dish, but one only need be thirsty to enjoy Republic. That’s because the pub features 100 taps and 250 varieties by the bottle, including local brews Marshall, Mustang, Battered Boar, COOP and Choc. Republic was designed by architect Rand Elliott and will accommodate about 150 guests in the dining and bar areas plus an additional 20 or so on the patio. A 200-inch projection television towers over the center of the bar, flanked by four 100-inch plasma screens to the east and west. More than a dozen 50-inch televisions decorate the chic, angular walls. The patio even sports weather-resistant high-definition televisions housed in mini vaults. Republic’s Monday premiere marked the second major opening in Chesapeake’s Classen Curve development.
Republic Gastropub→Where: 5830 N Classen Blvd. →Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Thursdays through Saturdays →Information: 286-4577 or www.republic gastropub.com.