After working under the tutelage of Mike Andrzejewski and Chris Daigler at the now shuttered Bourbon and Butter, one of our personal favorite restaurants from the past, Tim Schaedel is finally taking the reins of his own kitchen at Providence Social.
A new head chef means a new menu, and this one will be focused on offering up classic dishes with modern twists. On a recent visit to the restaurant, Schaedel told me his kitchen’s new Caprese salad exemplifies the new style he’s looking to bring to Providence Social.
“We’ll be sourcing the tomatoes from down the street here and doing little things with balsamic vinegar pearls and tomato water,” he said, punctuating his words with taps on the bar in front of us. “We want to do dishes that have all the flavor components of the original dish but presented in a new way.”
Another example of Schaedel’s style can be seen in the restaurant’s new shrimp and grits dish.
To create a modern take on this dish, the grits will first be cooked and cooled in a hotel pan, and then cut into bricks. Next, the grit bricks will be fried and finished in an oven. Crunchy on the outside but still creamy on the inside, the grit croquettes are placed on a plate dotted with a celery remoulade and the shrimp is arranged atop the grits.
“At the end of the day,” Schaedel said, “it’s still shrimp and grits.”
“It’s really about the entire experience, creating memories in people’s heads. I want people to say, ‘I went to Providence Social, had a certain dish, and the way that it was done and presented was unlike anything I’ve ever had,” he added. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m trying to be different.”
Visitors to the dining room can expect an all-new menu, while a special bar menu will have old favorites from the previous kitchen.
Schaedel and I also discussed the importance of sourcing quality ingredients, something he spent a lot of time learning at Bourbon and Butter. For instance, he said, there’s a massive difference between a mealy tomato you find at the bottom of a bin in the supermarket, and a bright, bursting tomato grown by a farmer who has to stand next to it at a farmer’s market.
“You’ve had a tomato a thousand times in your life, but these are something different,” he said. “When things are done the way that they’re supposed to be, they’re just that much better.”
“It starts with the seed. These farmers, that’s what they do. They’re out there every day pulling the weeds, watering the plants and growing them so that they’re the best possible product. When I get it, it makes my job easier because I don’t have to put a thousand things on it. I can just let that ingredient shine.”
Schaedel ended our conversation talking about how he’s looking forward to being inspired by great ingredients and using all he’s learned to give his guests a special dining experience.
“I’m excited for the opportunity we have to really get people in here and give them something to remember.”
490 Rhode Island St, Buffalo, NY 14213
Hours: Mon-Thu: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am, Fri-Sat: 4:00 pm – 2:00 am, Sun: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm