There's a new American tavern in the East Bay, and it's kicking up the culinary scene

Posted June 22, 2016

Statesman Tavern

By Grace Lentini

Warm wood tones embrace you as you step into Statesman Tavern, the newest addition to Bristol’s dining scene. There’s a black walnut bar top at the ten-seater bar, copper lights and dark tones throughout. “We wanted to create a space that was warm and welcoming and reflected the style of food and drink we are serving,” owner Sam Glynn says. “My wife, Lauren, designed the space to reflect what we think of as the ‘New American tavern.’ Touching on all of the senses throughout dinner makes it more of an experience for our guests.”

Statesman is the sister restaurant to Chomp Kitchen and Drinks in Warren, an approachable burger and beer joint with kicked-up menu items. Both restaurants take the approach of making many from-scratch food and drink items, but Statesman’s menu differs in the level of fine-tuning. Of course they have a burger, a Bacon Double Cheeseburger to be exact, which ties Statesman to Chomp, and you’ll see a lot of familiar dishes on the menu, but they’ve been refined by modern cooking influences and techniques. “We are focused more on composed dishes like our Rhode Island Monkfish, our Mushroom dish and Shrimp and Grits while still creating food that is as approachable as Chomp,” says Sam. “There is certainly a comfort food influence to it. Our ultimate goal is to showcase the ingredients that farmers, growers, fishermen and many more produce in a respectful way.”

You’ll notice some Southern influence on the menu, too, like the Pozole (a traditional Latin American soup popular in Mexico and the American Southwest) made with pork, hominy, cabbage and chili broth. Both Sam and Executive Chef Chris Kleyla have spent a lot of time in different parts of the country, which clearly influences the menu. However, they’re both from the Northeast, so blending multiple styles is all part of the culinary fun. 

At the moment, Sam has a few favorites he insists diners try. “Right now I would have to go with the Pimento Cheese for a snack, the Chicken Sausage for small plates, Mushrooms for mains and the Key Lime Pie for dessert. Paired of course with the Statesmanhattan,” he explains.

Speaking of adult beverages to pair with your meal, an often-overlooked component of cocktails is, simply, the ice. Here, large blocks of ice are carved into 2”x2” clear ice cubes, perfect for slowing down drink dilution and upholding the integrity of any cocktail. They also have a Japanese ice ball maker that creates perfect spheres ideal for scotches and bourbons. House-made juices and syrups round out the ingredients behind the bar.

It’s an exciting time for dining in the Bay. With so much care going into every gastronomic layer at Statesman Tavern, they are certainly a welcome addition to the culinary scene. 31 State Street, Bristol. 401-396-5115,