A bar serving classic cocktails and craft beers is to open as part of the debut site for a new US-style steak restaurant concept in Chelmsford, Essex.
The new venue, Chop Bloc, is being created in a three-storey 6,500 sq ft site in an 18th-century former brewery, specialising in reasonably priced, high-quality cuts of meat butchered and dry-aged on-site.
It is being developed by brothers Steve and Dave Patten, sons of Colin Patten, a meat industry pioneer and liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Butchers, who is also involved in Chop Bloc. They hope to expand in the next five years to three to five sites.
As well as dining on the ground and first floors and outside seating, the Chelmsford site will have the Bloc Bar on the second floor, styled in keeping with a classic Manhattan bar.
The interiors are being created with leading hospitality specialist DesignLSM, with a design featuring heavy woods, rich leathers and exposed brick. The restaurant, with 200 covers, will have aged meat displayed in full view of diners.
Together, the three men have decades of meat industry experience: the brothers have worked for market-leading meat companies, gaining first-hand experience in all areas of the business, while Steve has completed a training programme at an abattoir, learning about all parts of the farm-to-fork process, including the finishing farm, the lairage, the slaughterhouse floor and the cold rooms.
At Chop Bloc, all meats will be sourced from the highest-quality grass-fed Hertfordshire cattle and then dry-aged on site. Cuts will be sold by the gram and sliced by chefs who have been trained to butcher whole cuts of meat including bone-in cuts – rarely seen in the UK.
Chop Bloc will also offer burgers, which will be made in-house using 28-day-matured British chuck steak and cooked using the traditional 1940s American “smash” technique to create a crust on the outside while leaving a juicy burger on the inside. A selection of “fuss-free” sides and desserts will also be available.
Chop Bloc is due to open in Grays Brewery Yard, Springfield Road, in mid-January. The building was formerly Grays Brewery which brewed ales for its own pubs around Essex until it closed in the 1970s.