There’s a new kid on the charming but somewhat static Belden Alley block: Toy Soldier, a bar and restaurant that was formerly Belden Taverna. To start, Toy Soldier will serve lunch and dinner, even brewing some of its own beer, with plans to open on September 20th. Then, if all goes according to plan, the space will soon open for weekend brunch and late night hours nearly unheard of in the area, staying open until 4 a.m.
Don’t expect neighboring businesses to follow suit. At 52 Belden Place, Toy Solider arrives on a strip historically marked by quiet, tourist-friendly cafes and fine dining establishments. But the team knows what they’re getting into: Chef and co-owner Fred Turner was the chef at Toy Soldier predecessor Belden Taverna, and Franz Meis, who will be general manager and co-owner at Toy Soldier, was also Belden Taverna’s general manager.
New to the space are co-owners Nick Pigott (who also co-owns Grubstake, Mayes Oyster House, and The Blue Light) and Johnny "Love" Metheny (a longtime nightlife impresario behind the cocktails at Mayes whose Johnny Love’s bars were once staples of the singles scene).
Including its bar, Toy Soldier has 49 seats on two levels (the second story lounge will be available to rent), plus 30 patio seats. The space, which, per the name, boasts a light military theme, was designed by Michael Brennan, who worked with the legendary restaurant owner and designer Pat Kuleto on famous projects like Jardinière, Fleur de Lys, and Farallon.
To go with chef Turner’s menu, which is below, is head brewer Aram Gutowski’s Toy Soldier IPA, brewed on premises. There are 14 taps to fill, so presumably other breweries will be represented, and the bar has a full liquor license.
Of course, they’ll have to stop serving Toy Soldier IPA — and everything else — at 2 a.m., but that won’t stop these guys from staying up. Toy Soldier says it will host live music and occasional DJ nights from Thursday to Saturday, and the eventual hours are advertised Monday to Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. That’s a serious tour of duty.