Work like a Dog, Drink like a Fish: Makeready Libations & Liberation


Digital Exclusive


Words by Isaac Ray Norris

Photos by Isaac Ray Norris and Noelle

 

Earlier this year, I was on my way to Zanies Comedy Night Club to watch YouTube sensation and New York Times Best Selling Author, Mamrie Hart, perform her first stand up comedy show. But before the show, I hit up my friends at Noelle to try out their newest restaurant, MakeReady Libations & Liberation.

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Makeready serves as “a breakroom and beer hall for ladies and gentlemen in need of an honest meal and a pint after a hard day’s work,” while offering a seasonal approach to American tavern cuisine.

The restaurant is located just across the street from Printers Ally, and it pays homage to the publishers, printmakers, and “rule breakers” who use to call the ally home.

And it does not disappoint. The space is inviting and unique, and is decorated with silhouettes of MakeReady employees by letterpress artist Bryce McCloud. Ever so often, they move with the breeze as servers rush past.

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I arrive with a friend of mine, and we’re lucky enough to enjoy the space by ourselves. Our servers are young and friendly, and the bartender is more than accommodating. First, she concocts a simple vodka soda, and when another guest walks in, creates a sazerac for him.

I order the charcuterie board because I just can’t help myself, and after diving headfirst into the delicious slabs of meats and cheeses, I order the burger.

I’ve read about MakeReady’s burger, seen it on social media, too. It looks amazing, but tastes even better. There’s cheese, special sauce unlike any I’ve ever tasted, sweetly caramelized onions, and then the beef—all adorned atop a bun so golden yellow and buttery it’ll make you pause before the first bite. This is a burger that you have to cut in half, and then find the right angle.

It’s a smoky, sweet thing with a kick for the unique special sauce. But I'm forgetting something: the fries!These golden beauties are deep fried in clarified butter. Can you believe? Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and delicious on the inside, I still crave them.

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I soon discover the director of culinary of Noelle, Elliot Cunniff, and he has an exciting past. He was born in New York and named “Rising Star Chef” at the age of 25 by the Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival. He then moved to New York City to accept a position with renowned French culinary personality Daniel Boulud at Boulud’s signature restaurant.

From there, Elliot went on to run the kitchen at DB Bistro before he was sought out by american chef and restaurateur David Burke, with whom he worked for several years refining a modern eye for American cuisine.

Elliot then moved on to develop the culinary programs at the Soho Grand Hotel before heading south to Nashville where he consulted with local institution Watermark and newcomer Little Octopus.

His experience shows in the food he creates at MakeReady, as it is classically American and immensely bold in flavor. Before I know it, I’ve eaten all of my meal—it’s that good.

My next adventure with Noelle will be to experience the rooftop bar, Rare Bird. Stay tuned for more!