Chef David Schroeder’s culinary career has taken him to some diverse places – from the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles where he prepared meals for the late Hugh Hefner and friends, to Thomas Keller’s renowned Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, Calif., to the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.
But one gets the idea that Schroeder, a New Jersey native who grew up in North Palm Beach, is most comfortable in more laid-back settings where he has more freedom to think outside the box.
In that regard, welcome to Brick & Barrel in the burgeoning Lake Park (Fla.) Arts District. The brainchild of Schroeder and his general manager/partner, Mario Villar, in creative collaboration with local artist, AJ Brockman, Brick & Barrel is a gastropub with attitude. Its brick interior industrial chic ceiling each reflect the Brick & Barrel’s name and casual ambience.
Graffiti art murals commissioned from artist, Craig McInnis cover the walls with richly saturated hues, complementing the exposed brick. Wood block tables are complemented by polished cement floors. Edison bulbs illuminate the interior of the 60-seat restaurant and whiskey-centric bar.
Brick & Barrel is Schroeder’s third restaurant in the Palm Beaches. Between 2010 and 2017, his Schroeder Restaurant Group opened and owned an Italian eatery in the Abacoa neighborhood of Palm Beach Gardens and “Das Biergarten,’’ a German themed-craft beer bar. As chef, he created the German inspired gastropub cuisine.
After four years, Schroeder sold Das Biergarten and together with fellow Palm Beach Gardens High School alums Villar and Brockman, sought out a new venture that became Brick & Barrel.
“Locally sourced pub fare,’’ Schroeder said in describing the Brick & Barrel menu that includes poutine and bone marrow gravy (the perfect pub food); grilled Denver ribs; burgers and sliders; house-made sweet potato gnocchi; eggplant toast; and, made-from-scratch, deep dish, focaccia pizzas.
The Tomato and Eggplant focaccia pizza is a prime example is Schroeder’s commitment to locally-sourced vegetables. The colorful pizza features roasted heirloom tomatoes and eggplant, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic.
“We always look for the best items available,’’ Schroeder said. “For example, we put the heirloom tomatoes over this nice of focaccia and mozzarella. It’s been done a million times, but I think it’s the best margarita pizza I’ve ever had.’’
If you want something different, try the Forager that has mushrooms, goat cheese, sage and balsamic pearls.
The half-pound house Burger with Schroeder’s homemade bacon jam and goat cheese is a “must have’’ for beef eaters. For those who don’t eat beef, Schroeder has created the “Beyond Burger,’’ billed as world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like a fresh beef burger.
“It’s kind of engineered with different kinds of plant extracts,’’ Schroeder said. “You put it on next to a beef burger and it cooks in about the same amount of time.
“We sold more (beef) burgers, but the Beyond Burger does sell. Usually we see it in groups. Millennials who are vegan or vegetarian are ordering that burger.
“We all love food and we serve great food for everyone’s tastes—not just one group of diners. We love vegetables just as much as we love meat and create delicious dishes for all our guests’ enjoyment.”