WHO’S IN CHARGE Chef/co-owner Jonathan Post launched The Porch Southern Fare not as a restaurant with a Southern twist, but as a true Southern restaurant that features the dishes he ate growing up in Nashville.
About seven weeks ago, the Porch opened in the Wakefield location formerly occupied by a Turkish café and bakery; the owner of the bakery, Cenk Emre, is a friend and now a partner with Post on the new venture.
Post, 38, brings his culinary education in St. Louis and Providence institutions and his years of experience working in Boston-area restaurants, including a stint at Blue Ginger in Wellesley.
In working out the concept for what the Porch would become, Post and Emre decided to focus on comfort food, blue-collar fare that would cater to Wakefield’s working stiffs and commuters. So Post prepares dishes based on his grandmother’s recipes.
“This is about as Southern as you can get,” he said.
THE LOCALE Like a traditional barbecue place, the Porch is across the tracks . . . well, nestled along the commuter rail in a small commercial block on Tuttle Street. The décor is simple; the kitchen fills one side of the space, tables and chairs fill the other side.
A row of pans functions as decoration; the spare menu is sketched on a chalkboard. Folk art and black-and-white photos of the rural South grace the wall opposite the kitchen. You might catch the chef stirring a big pot on the stove and there’s a smoker steaming by the tracks. It’s comfy as a back porch can be and good for take out. No liquor yet; but that’s in the works.
ON THE MENU The choices are not extensive but cover the bases. The sandwiches are quite reasonably priced from $7 to $9. Platters come with two small sides for $12 to $13, or family meals with larger portions and two large sides ($26 to 28).
The fried chicken platter ($13) came out with steaming hot chicken, the meat juicy underneath a thin spicy coating that had a verve that you’d never get from that Kentucky colonel. As sides, we opted for the pinto beans, which were tasty and filling, and collard greens, which were fresh, not overcooked, with a sharp, sassy tang. Other sides include mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and biscuits.
The meat in the Smokestack BBQ Pork sandwich ($7) featured a smoky flavor that absolutely rocked my tongue. It came topped with purple cabbage coleslaw and pickle for added flavor and texture.
The Revelator Meat Loaf sandwich ($7) came slathered with pickled red peppers, its rich flavor and texture defying the bad press often given meat loaf. There’s also a Nola Oyster Mushroom Po’boy sandwich ($9), and barbecue pork and meat loaf platters (both $12). A catfish platter special ($16) was offered on a recent visit.
That’s most of the offerings for now — although let’s not forget the chess pie ($3 per slice), described as a sweet custard pecan pie, without the pecans. The recipe came right from Post’s grandmother.
If you’re looking for a “Y’all come back now,” it’s right in the tagline chalked on the blackboard menu.
The Porch Southern Fare, 41 Tuttle St., Wakefield, 781-245-4445, www.theporchsouthern.com .Stephanie Schorow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.