Terence Feury, the former executive chef of Fork restaurant in Center City, is moving across the river. He will head the kitchen at Tavro13, a new restaurant scheduled to open Oct 9 in Swedesboro, N.J.
After graduating from Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, Feury worked in New York City, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. His Philadelphia resume includes; Fork, The Striped Bass and The Ritz Carlton. “I want to bring some of that big-city glitz and flash with me so Swedesboro can have its own,” he said. Despite the growing food culture across the Delaware River, Swedesboro has yet to experience any spillover.
On the same block as Tavro13 is Swedesboro’s other upscale restaurant, Botto’s Italian Line, which caters to an older crowd. For other nearby high-end dining options, residents would have to drive at least 20 minutes to restaurants like the Telford Inn in Mantua and Filomena Lakeview in Deptford, which don’t offer the trendiness or mass appeal of a Feury restaurant. For that, locals look to Philadelphia.
While at Fork, Feury sourced much of his seafood from Barnegat Light, New Jersey, and otherwise bought locally whenever possible. He says this not only appealed to customers, but it also put him in greater harmony with the ingredients he used on a daily basis. “These farmers have become close personal friends. They know what I’m looking for, they’ve learned my palette, and they’ll grow things especially for me.”
Although the growing restaurant scene in southern New Jersey has mostly taken shape in Collingswood, Tavro13 is major coup for Swedesboro because it will literally fill the gap left when the popular Old Swedes Inn closed last year. Tavro13 will open in the Old Swedes Inn building at 1301 Kings Highway.
Tavro13 owner Gus Tzitzifas first set eyes on building in 2006 while dining at the Inn. “I liked the building and asked my real estate agent to see if the owners were interested in selling, which they were.” The sale didn’t happen right away but eventually in 2011, Tzitzifas got his building and began reinventing the space for Tavro13.
A tale of two menus
Cutting through the center of the restaurant is a “speakeasy” bar, without TVs or excessive noise. To the right is an intimate, wood-floored dining room warmed by an oversized fireplace. To the left is the lounge, with vignette furnishings designed by Gus’s wife, Effie, and a built-in stage for live music. To capitalize on the variety of spaces in Tavro13, Feury will offer two menus, one for fine dining and another with small plates.
The fine dining menu will contain plenty of seafood and constantly change. “The opening menu will last the longest, about two weeks. After that, I’ll usually make about two or three changes per day.” Feury says a staple, like Arctic Char, might remain on the bill of fare for a while, but the garnish will change. Entrees will cost anywhere from the mid-$20’s to the low-$30’s, while appetizers will range from roughly $8-15.
At the bar and in the lounge, diners can order from the fine dining menu, but they’ll also be privy to a selection of small plates. This menu is unfinished, but Feury said he’s considering liver mousse on rustic bread, marinated olives with crunch chickpeas and maybe even pretzels, to name a few. These dishes will cost $4-7.
Although the menus will change often, Feury is sure about what he won’t be serving. “We don’t have a fryer,” he said, “so you won’t be able to come here and get a plate of wings.”
The bar will have eight beers on draught, including Victory Hop Devil and Victory Prima Pils, two of Feury’s favorites. A wider selection of bottled beers will also be available.
At the beginning, the restaurant will also offer a 50-bottle wine list, with about 14 being offered by the glass. Feury says bottles on this “value-driven” list will cost anywhere from the mid-$20s to $50 and include wines from America as well as France, Italy and South America.