(This story was first published in the Dec. 27, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Virginia Dean, Standard Correspondent
PLYMOUTH — From the recent posts left on his Facebook wall, the public appears to be already clamoring about Chef Brad’s Fire Side restaurant even though it has only been open for a couple of weeks now.
Located in the Salt Ash Inn, situated near Killington and Okemo ski areas, the new eatery is owned by Brad Pirkey, a long-time chef in the Woodstock area.
Pirkey is also the owner of Chef Brad’s Crazy Side, an eatery located in a food truck at the Maple Leaf Farm on Route 100A in Bridgewater. He runs the truck from May to October and has done so since 2009. Soups, burgers, seafood, salads, and sandwiches are among the many treats available.
A 1980 graduate of Woodstock Union High School, Pirkey attended Johnson & Wales University: College of Culinary Arts in Rhode Island before heading to Florida where he worked in a small French restaurant. He later returned to Vermont as a sous chef to help his ex-father-in-law, owner of The Corners Inn in Bridgewater, who later sold the restaurant.
From 1993-95 Pirkey owned and operated Casa Bianca Restaurant in Rutland before returning to and buying The Corners Inn in 1995. He stayed until 2009 when he left the area to cruise around the country, as he said.
“I was homesick for the wonderful people in the scenic state of Vermont,” said Pirkey who returned and opened his well-known food truck.
Last summer, Pirkey was approached by the management of The Salt Ash Inn to lease its restaurant space. By October, he agreed and in November, Fire Side was born.
Featuring such delectables as nut-crusted pork chops with carrot apple glaze or monk cheeks (a seafood delicacy) with roasted lobster sauce, Fire Side is drawing such remarks as “you can’t go wrong with brad in the kitchen!” “artichoke bread + shrimp scampi = yummy – Thanks Chef Brad for yet another terrific meal” and “Great dinner tonight! Can’t wait to come back.” Along with well over 300 likes, over 70 people talking about it, and a 4.9 out of 5-star rating from customers, Pirkey features a house favorite of shrimp tacos, sweet and tangy chicken, flat iron steak and shiitake sauce and bolognese. The bar and salad bar feature 10 seats in addition to several tables available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a pool table, LCD TV, and gas fireplace. The chef’s dining room has six tables by reservation. Each can seat up to six people and can accommodate larger parties as well. The Post Office is a room for board games and a burning stove. The room is formal and set with linens. The restaurant is open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. (food service begins at 5:30 p.m.) and for Sunday Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Reservations are strongly suggested for the dining room seating at 802 672-1909.