Just a few months after becoming executive chef at Happy’s Bar + Kitchen (after a stint at another Michael Schlow property, Tico), Joshua Smith tells Eater that he has moved on to be culinary director for sister restaurants Sweet Caroline’s and Battery Park. While the role is mainly a consulting one for now, owner Sasha Nisenbaum expects that Smith will be a partner in new projects moving forward. While they’re mum on what those new projects might entail, back in April, Nisenbaum mentioned a possible new venture in the Seaport District, so perhaps Smith will be involved with that.
Smith is driven by a love of charcuterie, so cured meats will play heavily in the seasonal menus he creates for the restaurants. Pork will be particularly prevalent as Smith has built relationships with Eden Farms in Iowa, a producer of 100% Berkshire pork, and with Seghesio Family Vineyards, a California wine producer now apparently processing the wild pigs that live in the vineyards. Produce will also come from a small farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.
While Smith and Nisenbaum haven’t fully created new menus yet, the goal is a casual gastropub feel with artisanal, seasonal products. Smith, a North Carolina native, expects appearances by dishes like homemade hot dogs and ribs. It could be a welcome change for Sweet Caroline’s, a Fenway locale that features a beautiful vertical garden wall and bars made from reclaimed barn wood juxtaposed with a current menu of mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and burgers. The Financial District’s Battery Park has nearly the same menu. Ultimately, Smith and Nisenbaum expect that there will be a core menu in common between the two restaurants with special dishes paired to the very different neighborhoods.