In a brick red storefront on the corner of 26th Street and First Avenue, just off Eat Street, is GYST Fermentation Bar, home to all things fermented, pickled, brewed, aged, and delicious.
On a recent snowy November night we got our first look at the soon-to-be-opened (maybe the day after Thanksgiving?) gathering place, during an event thanking their generous Kickstarter patrons. Partners Ky Guse, Mel Guse, and Jill Mott helmed the ship, warmly welcoming their guests with a glass of wine and a slice of cheese.
"We find ourselves laughing a lot because sometimes we feel like we are in an episode of Portlandia," says proprietress Mel Guse. "We're so excited about pickling things and all types of fermented foods and drinks. We think people will be surprised when they walk into GYST. Our wine list alone reflects our incredible passion and knowledge."
And GYST goes way beyond wine. The menu is filled with a revolving selection of local and international hand-crafted foods, including pickles, charcuterie, kombucha, cheese, coffee, chocolate, beer, cider, and, of course, wine. Both Mel and Jill are experienced sommeliers in their own right.
The preview tasting featured salumi and ham from local favorite Red Table Meat Co. Their pickle board sported house-made pickled oregano carrots, red beet kraut, fermented CA St Farm winter turnips, and curried kimchi from Kiss My Cabbage. The cheese board included Blue Earth Brie from award-winning Alemar Cheese, as well as cheeses from France, South Dakota, and Italy (to name a few). Chocolate chip cookies and sustainable chocolate composed dessert.
Centered around a u-shaped central bar with easy access to food preparation, the space is like a giant modern kitchen with front row seats. The space invites discussion about the pickles being plated and the wine being poured. It's warm and inviting with unique design touches: The bare bulb lights, broad-grained wooden tables and floor, and whimsical accents create an overall sense of welcome. Expect classes and community events in the future.
GYST will be open beginning shortly after Thanksgiving, possibly as early as Black Friday.
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.