EAT – Edgar’s Above Broad
By Griffin Nelson | Photography provided by Edgar’s Above Broad
I’m constantly blown away by a chef’s ability to take a dish that many people might think normal and add flair, spice and creativity to it to turn it into something new and exciting! It takes real skill, training and intuition. Edgar’s Above Broad, or EAB, is the newest venue for applied learning for students at Helms College, and the chefs there have also made it the newest venue for people who want to enjoy a night out, a quick bite to eat or a special dinner, or who need a meeting place for colleagues and friends. Located right in the heart of downtown, it’s convenient, with a stunning space and views. The interior is conscientiously laid out — it manages to maintain a cozy and elevated vibe while allowing plenty of space between tables. It’s easy to social distance on the outdoor terrace with games like miniature golf, giant checkers and bocce ball. The Airstream that has been hoisted the three stories to the deck at 699 Broad St. serves as a second bar for late-night entertainment on weekends.
As a whole, though, EAB isn’t a bar. Though it’s open until midnight on Friday and Saturday (10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday), it’s also open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The light breakfast menu is anything but boring. There are breakfast sliders and parfaits, and EAB has partnered with Sheila’s Baking Company to offer the best cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had. There’s also an extensive selection of espresso and coffee drinks, making it easy to grab a bite or brew on your way to work. The lunch menu has a classic cafe approach, with creative takes on traditional soups, salads, sandwiches and more. Dinner transforms the space and the menu into the ultimate date-night destination. With an extensive selection of primarily small and shareable plates like Wagyu Beef Sliders, Pork Belly Nachos and Red Snapper Ceviche, it’s easy to try several items and find something that everyone will love. Many of the options are designed to make it easy to dish some onto individual plates so that the concerns of 2020 don’t diminish the fun of sharing food.
The two chefs behind this elevated menu are Jon Gamlen and Frank Kassner. Gamlen attended the renowned Culinary Institute of America before going on to do his fellowship at a French restaurant, then leading kitchens of notable restaurants in cities including New York and Chicago. Kassner grew up and did his apprenticeship in Berlin before working for Ritz-Carlton Resorts in Germany and then up and down the U.S. East Coast. Their combined extensive training and experience of over 25 years make it an honor for Augusta and EAB to have them training the next generation here. They are both clearly passionate about creating quality food and creative dishes that draw on both their backgrounds in international cuisine and the local fare that makes Augusta special. The EAB House Pork Belly Nachos are a great example — nachos are a staple that’s easy to share, and here they’ve been elevated and spun to incorporate the South’s love of barbecue, with pork rinds, high-end pork belly and Cortina cheese. Kassner’s years working along the coast inspire the seafood elements of the menu, including oysters, scallops and ahi tuna poke.
Of course, to offer the highest-quality menu possible, items may change depending on what is in season, and EAB works to support area farms and businesses. You can find elements like beef from Southern River Farms, honey from Augusta Honey Company and a Recteq smoker influencing many of the dishes on the menu. Gamlen and Kassner believe that knowing the people behind the products makes everything more special.
Edgars Above Broad is taking the concept of elevated-and-inspired-meets-comfort food and using it to help educate the students of Helms College in a space that has something for everyone. Whether you need a meeting space for lunch with colleagues, are looking for a unique spot to share a meal with a special someone, need an outdoor space for the family or are looking for a late-night spot to hang with friends, EAB has given downtown Augusta a space, a staff and a menu that do not compromise.
ARTISAN – Blackbeard’s Spice
Photo by John Antaki
If you’ve ever cooked anything, you know that seasoning can make or break a dish. Often, when trying a new recipe, there might be a series of spices called for that don’t make sense to an untrained eye but when put together complement each other perfectly. This is the inherent beauty of a spice rub — it’s versatile, it tastes amazing and it’s ready to go.
One of my favorite things about traveling is trying new dishes and finding new flavors. I don’t always trust myself to recreate those flavors without help, though. Since I haven’t been able to travel lately as much as I’d like, I appreciate spice mixes that allow me to try new flavors and let my palate travel in the comfort of my own home.
The most recent additions to my spice cabinet have been anything and everything from Blackbeard’s Spice Company. It has several different rubs, with more mixes and sauces in the works. The company’s staple Blackbeard’s Rub and Redbeard’s Rub are off to a running start. Both are strong on flavor without being overwhelming. Though the Blackbeard’s is more geared toward chicken and seafood (imagine the most amazing smoked wings you’ve ever had) and the Redbeard’s toward pork (think juicy, grilled pork tenderloin), there’s more to these rubs than meets the eye. They taste great on roasted veggies, in eggs or even on the rim of a cocktail, transporting you to the Caribbean no matter what the Georgia weather is doing.
The brains behind the spices are Bob Victor and Jeremy Miller. Victor could be Redbeard himself, but with a much more friendly, less piratey demeanor. He’d already won several awards for his rub when he tried Miller’s Blackbeard’s rub, and he loved it so much they decided to go into business. Over time, they’ve built their following to include not just people in the Augusta area, but also folks along the coast who’ve realized how good a pirate-inspired rub can be on seafood. All of their products have been kid tested and approved, too; they’re not spicy but still have loads of flavor. Of course, you can buy the rubs online at www.blackbeardsspice.com and on Facebook and Instagram @blackbeardsspice, but they can also be found locally at places including Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market and Harry’s Equipment Center.
Give yourself a break this season and create something amazing without having to figure out all of the spices by yourself — incorporate any of the rubs or sauces from Blackbeard’s Spice Company into your next meal!
SIP – Back Paddle Brewing
Photo by John Antaki
People often don’t realize what a wide world of beer is out there to explore. There are more than 75 different styles of beer and endless variations that can be created using those styles. For this reason, Kyle McCloud decided he didn’t want to have flagship beers when he opened Back Paddle Brewing in Lincolnton, Ga., just a few months ago.
Though it has only been open a short time, Back Paddle has been in the works for nearly two years, and McCloud has been a home brewer for many years. His love for experimenting was instrumental to his decision to bring on Jason Slater as head brewer.
To break the rules of brewing, you must first understand the rules of brewing. To add chocolate to a stout, for example, you must first understand what a stout is supposed to taste like, and having interesting but high-quality beers is important to both McCloud and Slater.
There’s something for everyone at Back Paddle Brewing. The constant rotation and eight taps mean that there are more than 100 different beers available throughout the year.
Back Paddle Brewing is actually the first brewery in Lincoln County. McCloud was instrumental in making that happen. Breweries can really help revive and contribute to a community.
“We want to take care of our community — especially since they’ve taken care of us,” said McCloud, a veteran and transplant to the area. He’s passionate about giving back to the area. He started the brewery’s #Beer4Good program, in which part of the brewery’s proceeds go to help local and/or veteran-focused nonprofits such as Heroes On The Water. Heroes helps veterans learn and experience kayak fishing, and it was instrumental in helping McCloud get plugged into the community and find his niche when he moved to the area six years ago.
Since then, McCloud has connected with the Lincolnton community and others across the area; he’s been working with other breweries and farms to build Back Paddle Brewing.
The brewery’s menu is just as interesting as the beers, with great staples like burgers and tacos that have been carefully crafted and locally sourced when possible. McCloud proves that quality ingredients, understanding and creativity can create a truly special place with really great beer.
Tackett Family Farm & Ranch (previously featured) provides the beef for fellow Lincolnton, Ga., business Back Paddle Brewing. The very lean meat of Tackett Family’s grass-fed longhorns provides a fantastic and healthier burger while allowing the businesses to support each other. The farm and brewery are each owned by veterans who are passionate about both giving back to the community that has given so much to them and creating a quality product every time. Next time you’re at Back Paddle Brewing, try the Texas Longhorn burger with Tackett Family longhorn beef, sautéed onions and peppers, pepper jack cheese and house-made barbecue sauce.
Appears in the January 2021 issue of Augusta Magazine.