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[Update on 11/21/16: We are sorry to say that The Hook has closed]

The corner of Eighth and Bradford avenues has gotten a bit of a facelift with the construction of The Hook, a new fast casual restaurant concept from the team behind Sinema, slated to open up next month. The bright blue structure is reminiscent of a Swedish boathouse, with its coloring and simple design, and it’s bringing a much welcomed freshness to the area. A neighborhood that, for a long time, was home to less-refined chain and fast food restaurants, Eighth Avenue is enjoying this surge in local eateries. The Hook will differ from all of its neighbors (Smiling Elephant, The Urban Juicer, Sinema, M.L. Rose, Arnold’s) in more way than one — while maintaining the dynamic character of the area.

The fast casual restaurant stands out from neighboring offerings in terms of fare (it will not have the high-ticket cuisine of Sinema or the sports bar eats of M.L. Rose or the home cooking of Arnold’s) and clientele (it will act as a new offering to serve area workers and residents but we also anticipate the spot drawing new crowds for lunch or late night drinks). While different, The Hook is not out of place. It is designed to be part of the city’s — and the neighborhood’s — fabric, in that they relied on locally owned business throughout the process … builders, designers, even PR. The Hook is excited to bring something fresh, local and new to Eighth Avenue.

Image: MA2LA

Still under construction, The Hook is set to open early next month. Pickles and Walley, the restaurant’s mascots, speak to the The Hook’s identity and fun, playful nature. Image: MA2LA

Upon opening next month, diners can expect the same attention to quality found on Sinema’s menu at a much more approachable price point. The initial concept for the restaurant was a fish-and-chips joint, but it has grown to encompass salads, sandwiches, sides and daily specials. The menu will also pay tribute to the region’s beloved “meat & three”-style dining through its daily selection of dishes. We are eagerly awaiting the release of the official menu, but the team has made the commitment to providing a wide range of cuisine with everything from Mexican fish tacos to Asian-inspired dishes to seafood pairings.

With the expertise of Chef and Culinary Director Dale Levitski, the menu has organically become multifaceted. “We want to be more than just one thing,” Levitski explains. “There will be regional cuisine, some Southern, some English, some Midwestern. It is a hodgepodge, but together, it all makes sense.” Chef Vasisht Ramasubramanian (better known as Chef V) will take charge in The Hook’s kitchen having left his post as chef de cuisine at Chauhan Ale & Masala House to do so.

In addition to the fast-casual dining style, the bar is expected to be a big draw. It will be fully stocked with local craft beers, batch cocktails and frozen drinks. “They will be fun, approachable, everyday cocktails,” owner Ed Reed tells us, being careful not to reveal too much. “Richard Peterson will bring beautiful flavors and presentation at an affordable price point.” We foresee crowds gathering at The Hook to enjoy the delicious food and refreshing cocktails, either inside the bright, open space or out on the open-air patio that overlooks Eighth Avenue.

The Hook includes key players on the Sinema staff, including owners Colin and Brenda Reed and Ed and Sam Reed; owner, executive chef and culinary director, Dale Levitski; and service coordinators, Richard Peterson and Q-Juan Taylor. These team players are not leaving their posts at Sinema but are dedicating a portion of their time to The Hook. And as we mentioned earlier, the team has also relied on local businesses for all aspects — D.F. ChaseCentric Architecture, Inc., Pfeffer Torode Architecture and Design TeamMA2LAJeff StamperTour Supply, Inc.Speak Creative and Squeaky Wheel Public Relations.

UPDATE: The Hook will be open for business at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 3. Hours, menu and additional information online:

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