After a two-week whirlwind makeover, Earnest will open its doors to customers today. The restaurant occupies the space previously known Cork and is operated by former-Cork chef Brian Peterson and with co-owner and pastry chef Danielle Morris.
Unlike its upscale, wine-focused predecessor Earnest aims to offer diners a more casual, comfortable vibe and seasonal American cooking. The menu includes dishes such as Buffalo Brisket, Pork "Ham" Chops, and an Earnest Burger -- or "elevated homey cooking" in the words of chef Peterson.
Cork closed its doors on July 1 for the restaurant's scheduled summer hiatus. During the last two weeks the owners have been busing doing a complete overhaul of the restaurant's interior, food offerings, and drink menu.
The design now lends itself to a more casual atmosphere with tufted booths and banquettes, weathered barn wood, and wooden light fixtures.
Chef Peterson has also crafted a menu of meat and potatoes-type American cooking to complement the restaurant's new vibe. The menu includes rifts on classic dishes that include some less familiar meats such as buffalo and lamb. Entrees range from about $15 to $25 each, while appetizers/shared plates range from $10 to $15 each.
There will also be rotating daily features including modern "TV Dinners" -- think, homestyle Fried Chicken and Pot Pies served in a tray.
On the drinks side look for a lineup of craft beers from both local and national breweries. Cork's extensive and award-winning wine list has been replaced by a "punctuated but worldly list of both by-the-glass and bottle options."
At least chef Peterson has kept at least one vestige of Cork's fine-dining past: foie. Earnest's menu includes a f.o.t.d. (or foie of the day) plate.
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Earnest 4991 S. Alma School Rd. Suite 1 480-883-3773 EarnestRestaurant.com
Tue-Thu: 5 to 9 p.m. Fri & Sat: 5 to 10 p.m. Happy Hour: Tue-Fri 5 to 6:30 p.m.
See the complete menu on the next page.