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Somehow it wasn't that weird to see a fully costumed Patrick Henry standing at the bar in the newly opened Patrick Henry's Pub & Grille last week. He works across the street at St. John's Church doing tours and re-enactments and surely appreciates a libation every now and then, or at least a garlic-free sandwich.
Fortunately for the neighborhood, he's able to return to his roots. The former Acappella, which closed last year, is in enthusiastic new hands. Owner Eric Warner, a longtime regular there, got to work on a major cleanup and menu redesign that's "fresher and more cohesive -- nothing frozen," he says. "And we think we've solved the smoke problem" that used to annoy some customers.
The pub's lovely courtyard is waiting for a still-pending ABC license. The cellar pub room, historic and cozy, is an intimate setting for lunch and appetizers now, and cocktails, beer and wine by the glass soon. Upstairs, the dining rooms, newly painted and hung with artwork from Eric Schindler Gallery, are served by a new kitchen and chef, Nicolai Creatore, formerly of Kitchen 64, Kuba Kuba, Davis & Main and a six-year stint at Millie's.
He has salmon and steak on the menu, along with four styles of mussels, a handful of pastas, 10 large sandwiches, including a roasted N.Y. strip and shrimp poor boy, and apps such as minicalzones and sautA^ed calamari. Salads include a fresh fennel version with onions and capers; crostini range from sausage to kale-artichoke to green olive tapenade with asiago. Most of the menu items cost less than $15.
Patrick Henry's Pub & Grille is open for lunch weekdays and dinner nightly at 2300 E. Broad St. 644-4242.