Unless you count fish tacos, listed on the menu between a fruit salad with candied walnuts and shrimp tacos with onion straws, there is no hint at 541 King St. that the venue until recently housed a vibrant Latin-Caribbean kitchen.
When The Getaway’s owners on Aug. 19 closed the restaurant without warning, they said they planned to “retool the brand” and reopen by the end of the month. As promised, Bootleg Tavern emerged earlier this week, stripped of its tropical flourishes, but with a guitarist stationed near its storefront: A cluster of women on Wednesday night sipped cocktails as he strummed Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash.”
Although the bar hasn’t yet established any social media accounts, bartender PJ Taylor summed up the concept in a Facebook message posted on Monday. “We are trying to take some of the pretention [sic] out of cocktails, so come as you are and come check out our classic themed cocktail menu and rad specials all week!,” he wrote, announcing that he and Jonathan Minor would henceforth be responsible for the bar.
In addition to cocktails featuring sherry, Madeira and Fernet Branca, Bootleg is serving seafood pasta, grilled salmon, chicken tenders and one pound of fries.
It’s not entirely clear who is behind the transition: Partner Kirk Heidenreich, who served as The Getaway’s spokesman, refused to reveal the names of current owners, saying he’s distanced himself from the operation. Taylor also declined to comment.
The Getaway opened in December with Emily Hahn as executive chef and Genevieve Mashburn as beverage director. Mashburn left the restaurant in February, citing “a negative situation.”
According to an account posted by Hahn to her Instagram account, remaining staff members were alerted 20 minutes before brunch service on Aug. 19 that the restaurant was closing. Heidenreich, though, says employees shouldn’t have been surprised by the development. He provided the following statement attributed to unnamed partners:
“The business has been in decline over the past several months and the staff was made aware of the situation at a staff meeting on July 24. It was clearly stated in that meeting that changes were imminent if the situation did not improve.”