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Freight Kitchen & Tap

An historic building. A vibrant city center location. A menu jam-packed with elevated comfort food. Freight Kitchen and Tap, located in the old train depot in downtown Woodstock, offers up an eclectic blend of regional American cuisine sure to please even the most finicky of palates.

“Freight is an American tavern and there are specific expectations around that,” said partner Neel Sengupta. “We want to challenge those expectations while also exceeding the basics.” To that end, the Freight kitchen, headed by executive chef, and local boy, Kyle Shankman, serves up everything from burgers and salads at lunch to a variety of succulent entrées with an approachable gourmet flair at dinner (and all of it definitely surpasses average culinary assumptions).

Although it’s hard to go wrong with any menu item, highlights include the chunky Freight Pimento Cheese appetizer with house-made cheese straws (it’s better than grandma used to make), the Freight BLT with fried green tomato, applewood smoked bacon and pimento cheese on locally sourced multigrain (this ain’t daddy’s BLT), and the Flattering Anne – Homage to the Pig. This gluttonous dish, which could just as easily be called Pork Three Ways, will have carnivores thinking they’ve died and gone to Heaven with its perfectly cooked bone-in grilled pork chop, homemade pork and apple sausage and slow-cooked pork belly. That’s right … pork belly! Good luck finding that anywhere else in Cherokee dear gastronomes!

“The overarching theme at Freight is not to try to be all things to all people,” Sengupta said. “We want to do a few things really well. Simple ingredients make the best food especially when sourced locally, so any chance we have to work with local ingredients we have fun. Our menu is as much about execution as what’s on it. We put great ingredients in the chef’s hands because we don’t think it should be unexpected to find fresh vegetables and a fantastic meal experience in a tavern.”

Shankman, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and has held executive chef positions at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta, Bridgemill Country Club and Café 190, said the environment and atmosphere at Freight provide a constant source of inspiration for his cooking. “I love the bar mission here with all the craft beers and classic cocktails, and I love the history of the place,” he said. “I often start with the drinks and work back to make food that works with them. People are looking for something new and exciting but also comforting and familiar, and that’s why I do elevated comfort food.”

Whether a quick lunch, a satisfying dinner or just some apps and drinks with friends, Freight Kitchen and Tap is bringing people together over scrumptious food and tantalizing mixology inspired libations. Get on board the culinary exploration at Freight!

*Originally published in the February 2012 issue of Cherokee Life Magazine.