November 6, 2018
Restaurant Row

The Stack serves up BBQ and beer at District

Liese Klein
Liese Klein
L-r: Tom and Jason Sobocinski at the bar at the Stack, a new restaurant and brewpub.
Liese Klein
The outdoor beer garden and eponymous smokestack at the Stack.

A team of young entrepreneurs on Friday celebrated the opening of the Stack, an expansive barbecue restaurant and beer garden at District New Haven. The debut capped more than two years of renovation and remediation at the former bus depot, now a coworking campus for startups and tech businesses.

Centered around a renovated coal smokestack on the District campus at 470 James St., The Stack features the specialities of Hartford-area Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, plus beers by the brewers of Black Hog Brewing Co. in Oxford.

Customers have been asking for a New Haven location of Bear's Smokehouse for years, said owner Jamie McDonald. The company offers Kansas City-style barbecue on a cafeteria-style line, with specialties like a sweet and spicy brisket, pulled pork and kielbasa. The meats are served with sides like cornbread, in a sandwich or over mac-and-cheese or fries.

In New Haven, Bear's will feature local purveyors like Lamberti's, making three kinds of Italian sausage for the eatery, and Chabaso Bakery, which will make pretzels. "It's going to be the normal Bear's menu but we're going to customize it a bit," McDonald said.

Black Hog owner and New Haven restaurateur Jason Sobocinski and his brother Tom are behind the brewing operation at the Stack, where they plan to offer a variety of beers unique to the location. A five-barrel brewing system will be installed over the next few weeks, with Stack-made beers slated to be available on tap by the end of the year.

In addition to house brews, the Stack will offer beverages ranging from craft cocktails to Mexican lagers to Wallingford-made New England Cider Co. products on a dedicated gluten-free tap.

"I want everyone to feel there's beer here for them," Jason Sobocinski said.

In addition to the Stack, the Sobocinskis currently run Ordinary and soon-to-open Olmo in New Haven, along with the popular Caseus food truck. On tap for the future is a craft distillery planned for Waterbury and the Mystic Cheese Co., a cheese shop and grilled-cheese purveyor slated to debut in 2019 in Groton.

The opening of the Stack, with its spacious dining areas and outdoor space, marks a major milestone, said Jason Sobocinski. After years doing business in New Haven, the brothers also appreciate District's 250-plus parking spaces and easy access to I-91.

"I'm excited about it... It's been several years of remediation," Sobocinski said. "Now it's finally here — it's here at the best time of year to start drinking and have some barbecue."

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