Silver Spring-based chef Edward Reavis believes there is power in restaurants partnering up to make it through the pandemic. That’s why his seafood house All Set and next-door sibling Money Muscle BBQ just joined forces with fellow Silver Spring mainstay Denizens Brewing Co.
Reavis will reveal his brand new food menu for Denizens on Monday, May 9, starting at its 3-year-old production facility and taproom in Riverdale Park. The same lineup will make its way to Denizens’ original location in downtown Silver Spring by the end of the month. Denizens’ menu makeover centers around surf-and-turf bar bites like slow-smoked wings, nachos, fresh Maine lobster and Carolina pulled pork sliders, plus a variety of burgers.
“In this model, Denizens staff will integrate with [All Set] as much as possible, and there is a convenience factor here,” says Reavis, of the partnership. “We are essentially expanding our restaurant’s footprint with Denizens’ two existing locations. It is a growth opportunity for us.”
The incoming menu also revolves around Denizens’ beloved beer. For instance, the beer-battered onion rings are made with Denizens’ lager. Beer batter also helps build chicken tenders and fish filet sliders, and there’s also and Bavarian pretzel with beer mustard or dipping cheese.
Desserts include beer-glazed doughnuts and Nutella s’mores. Fans of All Set’s gooey chocolate chip cookies with brown sugar will be able to order them at Denizens.
The partnership, which was sparked by a local chamber of commerce meeting, allows the two Maryland hospitality groups to share space and resources to maximize their respective talents. For All Set and Money Muscle, that means making mouthwatering barbecue, and for Denizens, it’s brewing award-winning craft beers and seltzers like Southside Rye IPA, Born Bohemian Czech-style pilsner, and MoCo Blood Orange.
“Since the start of the pandemic, everyone has had to think through their operating model a bit more,” says Denizens co-founder Emily Bruno. “At Denizens, our model has changed about five times in the last two years. We decided this year that we want to focus on our advantage and work with a local business we know and love.”
Denizens co-founder Julie Verratti recently served as a presidential appointee in the U.S. Small Business Administration and returned to her role at Denizens this year. Helping restaurants and small businesses recover from the pandemic with access to Restaurant Revitalization Funds caused her rethink the future of her own homegrown brewery.
“It was very eye-opening to see what the entire country has been going through during this pandemic,” says Verratti. “Small business owners are going through a lot. The amount of pain and fear and, quite frankly, trauma folks have been feeling has created this sense of empathy that I now have.”
She hopes her brewery’s new collaboration with All Set serves as a model for others.
“We got into this business because we wanted to make great beer for every palette, and create a place where everyone has a seat at the table,” says Verratti. “All Set and Money Muscle are the perfect partners. They make absolutely delicious food, and we are excited to pair their food with our beers.”
The new menu replaces Denizens’ in-house lineup of items like mussels, meat and cheese plates, and stuffed cheddar puffs.
The new partnership is also emblematic of Silver Spring’s strong sense of community.
“People fight for Denizens. And people fight for All Set,” says Bruno. “This is not only a wonderful way to grow our businesses together, but also to offer more to our wonderful community.”