September 22, 2018
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Have Your Beer and Eat it, Too

Head chef gets creative with menu at local brewery
Chef Charisa Perkins incorporates Tin Man’s beers in many of her dishes as head chef.

Charisa Perkins started serving at Tin Man Brewing Co. a year ago, but when the owners discovered she had a culinary degree, they “pulled me into the kitchen.”

A 2009 graduate of Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., with a culinary degree Perkins, 26, learned everything from knife cutting techniques to calculating food costs, which has helped prepare the Henderson, Ky., native for her position as head chef at Tin Man.

“My friend was bartending and I was just kind of looking for a job so I ended up coming here, and I’ve loved it ever since the beginning,” says Perkins. “The Davidsons (owners of Tin Man) are really great people and everyone who works here just makes for a nice work family.”

Perkins normally begins her workday at 8 a.m., three hours earlier than the restaurant opens, to prep and make lunch menu items like the soup of the day and soft pretzels.

“I pretty much have free-range on creativity, which is awesome,” says Perkins. “Everyday, I can come up with whatever soup I want to make. I try to make them original but still pretty tasty.”

Recent soup hits include spinach and arugula, a cheeseburger soup topped with lettuce tomato and pickle, and a roasted red pepper soup that quickly sold out.

A daily grilled cheese is also sold with the soups to complement the flavors. Provolone, Parmesan, and bacon sizzled together to accompany a recent gumbo, and mozzarella cheese melted down to harmonize with an herb and pesto soup.

Tin Man’s Monday pizza option has become very popular thanks to Perkins’ creativity.

“I’ve found that the more strange the pizza, the more people are interested,” says Perkins with a laugh.

Past pizza inventions by Perkins include a Reuben (corned beef, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and Rye bread crumbs, toasted and garnished on top) a crab Rangoon pizza, chili cheese fry pizza, and a pizza topped with goat cheese, ham, and fig preserves.

Working at a brewery presents a natural opportunity for Perkins to be creative by incorporating beer into the menu. Every Friday, Tin Man makes a limited batch of specialty beer or serves a small amount of beer from other local breweries. Customers can enjoy the special selection on a first-come, first-served basis, and as part of a Friday night dinner special with food selected by Perkins.

“Our fish and chips is made with a beer batter using the Rivet beer,” says Perkins. “Czar is another one of the beers the brewers make here and I make a chocolate cake with the beer and put coffee in it, and it brings out the chocolate really well.”

The most popular menu item, the build-your-own-burger, is offered all day. Guests can choose from either an 8-ounce beef patty, portabella mushroom, fried or grilled chicken and top it with house-made sauces and toppings such as freshly fried onions or green tomatoes.

“I try to build things around what people around here want to eat,” says Perkins. “I like my food to be comforting, making people feel at home but different. Or things people just don’t normally have everyday.”

For more information about Tin Man Brewing Co., 1430 W. Franklin St., visit them at tinmanbrewing.com or call 812-618-3227.

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