A New Direction for Erie Dining
28 North takes the gastropub high road
Tucked on the corner next to the noisy, typically college-aged crowd at Coconut Joe's is a unique place. It's a pub, a gathering spot – and one that serves innovative takes on familiar cuisine. With its quiet dignity and classic decor, 28 North Gastropub aims to take Erie drinking and dining to an entirely different level.
The owners are Erie "born and raised": Sarah and Jasen Schardt, who decided to stay in the area after graduating from Penn State Behrend. One of the activities the couple enjoy most is taking advantage of Erie's proximity to cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh – the city nearest to Jasen's birthplace. Inspired by diverse fare available in certain restaurants they visited, Sarah and Jasen decided to open up their own restaurant. It helped that Jasen had previous restaurant experience.
"We picked up different ideas from all over the place," explains Sarah, "and wanted to open our own place – but a relaxed place, a neighborhood spot. Somewhere people can come for a relaxed, pub-style atmosphere with higher-quality food."
28 North Gastropub, named for its location at 28 North Park Row right on Perry Square, makes most of its oft-overlooked menu items from scratch. That salsa served with the tacos? Homemade. The bruschetta? Homemade. The arancini balls? Also homemade. Such attention to the little menu details makes for an elevated, yet totally affordable dining experience.
"We wanted to take our travel experiences and put a twist on them with our dishes," says Jasen, "but we also wanted to appeal to the older crowd – those in their later 20s and 30s. So you won't see your mom at the bar, necessarily," he jokes.
While many of the menu items have a familiar feel – and the upcoming winter menu will feature innovative "comfort food items" – 28 North's edibles are delectable and classy, not for kids only – although kids are most certainly welcome; the restaurant accommodates families, the couple explains. And for proof of 28 North's cuisine, just check out the restaurant's Instagram page: a colorful patchwork of juicy burgers, mouthwatering lunch wraps, dips, and appetizers just itching to be shared, and melty, fresh pizzas.
Coming soon, the couple promise, are special evenings like a taco night, different food specials, and – in the new year – beer-pairing dinners and wine-tasting evenings. For now, they like to change the menu seasonally to reflect not only patrons' desires but also the dining experience itself. With similar twists on the familiar, of course, although the couple are keeping their new dishes under wraps for now.
"People like us are trying to change the food scene," Jasen says. "Erie's a nice little place, and there's a lot happening." Just down the street, Alkeme, a Mediterranean cafe and restaurant, recently opened up, and it looks like a diner/eatery will be coming in on the opposite side of Coconut Joe's. In the same row are Catfish Kitchen, Khao Thai, and Tandoori Hut – and that's just on Perry Square.
Clearly, in the city and beyond, eating and drinking experiences have extended beyond the basic pub grub, and 28 North is proud to help lead the way by keeping its menus perpetually accessible, its cocktails creative, and its attention to the epicurean focused and real.
28 North Gastropub // 28 North Park Row // 28northerie.com or 455.4705
Miriam Lamey can be contacted at Miriam@eriereader.com.