Harissa is a flavor-packed North African paste made from a mixture of chili peppers and spices, while tahini yogurt and feta are staples of the Middle East and Mediterranean.
The southern United States lays claim to juicy, crispy fried chicken; and thick-sliced Texas toast, well, that happy accident hails from a small town in the Lone Star State, though just which one is the start of an argument.
Point being, none of those things — singularly or collectively — scream Alpine cuisine.
But put all of them together in a monster sandwich and no one will give one rip about origins.
Black Lodge is Brittanny Anderson and company’s newest venture in the former Chairlift space next to Brenner Pass in Scott’s Addition. Located at 3200 Rockbridge St., Black Lodge will operate 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
While a pandemic rages and restaurants everywhere are rethinking their menus and making changes at light speed to stay afloat, Anderson said last week that while Brenner Pass is currently closed, Black Lodge is an opportunity — if you can call it that — to let loose a little and go a bit off-script from the upscale Alpine dishes featured next door.
The take-out-only joint offers coffee and breakfast until 3 p.m., snacks and salads all day, sandwiches starting at noon and from 5 to 8 p.m., dinner entrees like tender pasta topped with a medley of seafood.
It’s also offering cocktail kits to go, right down to the fruity garnishes, and expanding its beer and wine selections to include a wider variety of local products.
“I think we loosened up a bit — we’re doing stuff that we enjoy, that we think is fun,” Anderson said, but also “that’s going to travel well [and] is easy to eat,” not to mention family- and kid-friendly.
Anderson said she’s hopeful that Brenner Pass can reopen after her staff can get vaccinated. According to the Virginia Department of Health, food service workers fall under vaccination phase 1c. Virginia is currently still in phase 1a.
“We know our guests want to come, but it’s really about the safety of our workers,” she said.
Though Black Lodge was not created as an homage to the popular 1990s television show “Twin Peaks,” there are a few references that the show’s fans might notice, including references to “damn good coffee” and cherry pie, which is on the menu.
“It started out as tongue-in-cheek,” said James Kohler, beverage director and one of Anderson’s partners.
Black Lodge’s menu isn’t entirely separate from its sister eatery, however. Black Lodge will offer a smash burger, paying homage to the popularity of Brenner’s Fondue Burger. The rest of the menu reflects items like smoky whitefish dip, chewy vegetable flatbreads, bright salads and rich, meaty cassoulet.
Kohler said Black Lodge may have been conceived by the same folks that opened Brenner Pass (and Church Hill’s German eatery, Metzger Bar & Butchery), though “there’s nothing Alpine about harissa fried chicken.”
“This lets us take off the parameters that we put on ourselves for Brenner,” he said, “and be able to play around a little bit and have some fun in this weird time.”