In December, Tilt Restaurant- previously its only location was on Swan Island- opened in the Pearl District at NW Everett and 13th in a former industrial building. This location is much larger than the original, and includes a restaurant portion as well as a bar area. Their philosophy of “Handcrafted Food and Drink” that features burgers, biscuits, beer and cocktails “Built for the American Workforce” seems right at home in the space with concrete floors and walls, exposed piping, and large planks of wood with stools that serve as communal dining areas, although there are also a dozen booths and an area in the bar back area that has some cushioned benches around a fireplace and by the ping pong table.
When you first enter, you are greeted by the espresso counter (serving Ristretto Roasters), and you walk past a large pastry case showcasing their pies, to where you will be ordering your eats. You are then given a pager to let you know when to pick up your food – it’s self-service here. If you go to the right, towards the wall with the Swan Island pin-up you will enter the bar area. There, they have a dozen cocktail options, 8 draft beers plus 1 draft cider and 1 draft house sarsaparilla, almost a dozen canned local beers, half a dozen local wines, and the well is beautifully stocked, including 100 whiskeys. Happy hour starts at 3 and goes to 6, offering $3 draft beers and $2 off cocktails, and $6 wine pours.
You should definitely check out some of bar manager Nick Keane’s cocktails. If his name sounds familiar, he was previously dealing amazing flavors at Parish, and has participated in several cocktail mixology competitions. Similar the cocktail menu at Parish, there is a classic section and a seasonal section, but with Tilt there are no longer the confines of a Cajun perspective to the restaurant.
My friend started out with the cocktail that she had texted me at 10am earlier that day excited about: the 2nd Amendment cocktail, with rum, aperol, lemon, cinnamon, bitters. Nick told us this drink was inspired from his time when he was trying to open a bar I believe in the Caribbean… and this drink definitely transports me there with its smooth flavors of rum and fruitiness that to me are reminiscent of a Bahama Mama but without the obvious punch of coconut and doesn’t cross the line to sweetness which you normally associate with tropical cocktails. And how beautiful is this?
I love egg white drinks – I love the fluffyness of the texture in beverage form. It’s as fancy and indulgent to me as champagne, but tastes so much better. And then when I saw Applejack… sold! This cocktail is The Pie Break, with applejack, lemon, Don’s Spice #2, egg whites. I would order this again in a heartbeat with its refreshing clean flavors of bright apple and citrus.
For eats, my friend went with the Island Trucker and shared large original beer battered house fries that we could not stop eating. The Island Trucker burger is one of their 10 signature burgers, which offers original toppings combinations. In this case, the Island Trucker includes their fresh ground, 100% natural, local chuck patty, topped then with house baked honey cured ham, beer battered onion rings, grilled pineapple, house recipe teriyaki sauce, swiss cheese, lettuce, mayo on their house recipe bun.
I went with the Carne Jefe for a bit of spiciness, as it is that same patty and bun but with the toppings of jalapenos, sliced avocado, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, thin-shaved onions, monterey cheese, mayo, and fresh squeezed lime. I was loving the fresh squeezed lime touch that added some acidic bite to the creamy avocado and cheese and bits of fire from the jalapenos. I knew this burger wasn’t going to be quite as tall/stacked and impressive as several of the other Tilt burgers, but I was getting my calories from liquids today.
Along with my Carne, I had another cocktail, Modern Times, with fernet, sarsaparilla, lemon, cream. Nick explained this drink was inspired by New Orleans’ Gin Fizz, but with the important upgrade of carbonated water with their house sarsaparilla. This went down WAY too easy. The drink has no ice so be mindful to enjoy it before it gets warm, but that was no problem whatsover with me. Way too easy to drink.
I finally wrapped up with satisfying my curiosity when I saw that one of their signature cocktails was ON TAP. It is indeed as I watched him fill the cocktail glass from a tap before the lemon twist over the glass to just add a bit of lemon oil. The cocktail packed quite a punch: the Seelbach, with Bulleit Rye, Cointreau, Bitters and Bubbles.
Overall, I had a great visit. I admit the burger patty was not as juicy as I was hoping for, but I would like to try their Freebird, which boasts a buttermilk dredged, golden fried chicken, and also their Blue Collar biscuits which are served all day. And, I only got to taste some of the fabulous cocktail menu… You may be coming here for blue collar homey burgers and biscuits. But don’t leave without trying a cocktail.