Brackenridge’s Infuzed Bistro offers an infusion of the not-so-ordinary
A new bistro is open in Brackenridge.
Infuzed Bistro is next to Prospect Cemetery along Freeport Road.
Focusing on American-infused fare with freshly sourced ingredients, Infuzed Bistro aims to offer unique flavor combinations — witness the farro with bacon and peach or the spicy Gouda Alfredo pasta.
Co-owned by chef Tim Emery, his wife Toni McGinsky-Emery and chef Christopher Carabotta, Infuzed Bistro stands out among the numerous fast-food chain restaurants, mom-and-pop pizza shops and corporate-owned eateries in the Harrison and Brackenridge area.
A Brackenridge address wasn’t on Emery’s restaurant radar when seeking a location to open up a first eatery.
“I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 14 and I finally decided to take the plunge and open my first restaurant,” said Emery, 36, and currently residing above Infuzed with his wife and their six children.
“I found this place by chance on Craigslist, just messing around, and we realized there was a gap in this town — there’s a lot of chain restaurants and pizza joints. Brackenridge showed a hunger for something new and different so we went for it.”
For Emery, the transition from employee to boss has been what he calls a “plunge.”
“I’ve run other restaurants before, but running my own has been therapeutic almost. Usually, I’m stressed out because I’m worried about what the owner is going to throw at me next. Well, now, I’m the owner and I’m throwing it at me.
“It’s been interesting and I have been teaching my protégé, Chris, who is also a partner.”
Carabotta, 22, hails from Charleroi.
He worked his way up in the industry from dishwasher to sous-chef to co-owner/chef.
“Cooking is my passion and I only recently learned that is what I love. I’m always excited to learn about something new about cooking,” Carabotta said.
All foods are prepared fresh — no pre-cooked or frozen foods here.
“I’ve been cooking most of my life and have trained in many styles of cooking,” Emery said. “All of the food is ‘crash live cooked,’ which basically means the moment you come into this restaurant, you make your order and that food is made for you, only for you, and not pre-prepped.”
The initial menu is intentionally small, with plans to add more offerings slowly.
“We don’t want to do too much too soon. We want to build and evolve so our guests have things to look forward to,” Emery said.
McGinsky-Emery serves as general manager and said Infuzed welcomes all customer types.
“We are a date-night destination but are family friendly at the same time. We have six kids, so that’s important to us.”
The remodeled interior in the century-old, Victorian-influenced residence, business and former restaurant features a casual and cozy vibe with several separate dining rooms that can accommodate about 50.
A closed-in front porch offers ample natural light. During nice weather, McGinsky-Emery likes to open the windows for an alfresco dining experience.
“We’ve tried to create an atmosphere that can be date night or you can still have your kids here,” Emery said. “My son, Brock, wants to be a chef and he created the kid’s menu.”
All kid’s meals are $6. Look for the homemade mac-and-cheese and organic hot dogs.
“Brock will be creating kid’s meals specials just as we will offer specials on our regular menu,” Emery said.
Infuzed doesn’t have a liquor license, so it’s BYOB. Every customer receives a complimentary initial nonalcoholic beverage.
“I don’t like when I go to a restaurant and get charged for a soda right off,” said Emery.
Carabotta spearheaded Infuzed’s lunch menu, offering a compact menu dubbed “Lunchtime Liberation” with five flavor profiles to choose from and a “delivery” in the form of a wrap, sub, salad or pasta. Call ahead for takeout and they’ll have your order waiting.
“We are providing a product that’s healthy and quick. Takeout orders will be accepted early because we realize people are limited with their lunchtime breaks,” Carabotta says.
Customers can expect to see wild game such as duck, ostrich, kangaroo and other interesting meats as specials.
“I’m real big on game meats. We are always looking for interesting and adventurous meats you don’t normally see in our country. We want our guests to have the chance to travel the (culinary) world without a plane ticket,” said Emery.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.