Neighborhood Services Bar Room & Broiler at Preston Royal is so neighborly that starter “Gulf Shrimp Ron’s Way” is named after a customer. Ron and his wife, Trish, dine at the restaurant frequently. They sit at the bar and order the same thing every time. Ron feasts on the shrimp and a beer, and his wife selects the salad.
When the restaurant closed briefly in October 2017 for remodeling after a fire in the kitchen vent, Ron poked his head in the restaurant and asked how things were going. The staff showed him around the place.
Chef Matt Reyes says names on the menu are reserved for customers, employees and people who have been loyal to owner and chef Nick Badovinus. Preston Royal is one of three Neighborhood Services locations owned by Badovinus’ company, Flavorhook LLC. He also owns Town Hearth, Off-Site Kitchen, Montlake Cut and Perfect Union Pizza Co.
This location is unique because of its brined, rotisserie chicken program. “Nick gave me the idea,” Reyes says. “He said, ‘I want this, I want this. But otherwise, do it yourself.’ ” Reyes, who has been a chef at this location for nearly four years, says he developed the brining process and the seasoning — rosemary, lemon, lemon zest, salt, pepper and espelette.
Reyes serves the chicken five ways: a half bird with homemade fries ($23), chicken alfredo ($21), chicken nachos ($13), Waldorf salad ($16) and a daily soup. Additional customer favorites include crispy asparagus ($12), butcher’s meatballs with voodoo sauce ($13) and London broil with voodoo sauce ($28). Daily specials typically feature a fish, such as a Norwegian halibut ($35), soup, a wine, cocktail and a “PR classic” — a menu item from the past that makes a temporary comeback. Recently, it was pappardelle bolognese ($21).
The décor resembles a Hemingway novel come to life. Photos of racing, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and the owner’s family crowd the walls. One frames Badovinus holding his infant son, “little Nick,” who is starting his sophomore year at Jesuit. Adventure novels are stacked along the wall, and a framed family arrowhead collection from Washington state hangs from a back wall. Reyes says the items and the lighting are hand-picked by Badovinus. He also insisted on the white table cloths and the servers’ vests.
Neighborhood Services is open for dinner only, beginning at 5 p.m. The staff recently extended weekend hours until 11 p.m. Reservations are suggested.
“The number of locals we see here two, three, four times a week is crazy,” Reyes says. “A lot of people we know by name. Every night they come in, and they know exactly what they want. This location has a friendly, neighborhood vibe.”
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