Something new is brewing in Ty Burrell's world: a beer bar he recently opened in Salt Lake City, Utah.

By peoplestaff225
Updated April 25, 2014 03:59 PM
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Something new is brewing in Ty Burrell‘s world: a beer bar he recently opened in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Burrell, who plays bumbling real estate agent and self-appointed “cool dad” Phil Dunphy on the sitcom Modern Family, co-owns the beer garden, aptly named Beer Bar, with his brother Duncan.

The restaurant, with high ceilings, long tables and benches that evoke a Bavarian-style beer hall, offers a menu that’s as straightforward as its name, including 150 beers and housemade sausages. A signature dish, the Reuben Brat, boasts pastrami and bratwurst with Swiss cheese and pickled vegetables. Sounds nice and light, right?

“It’s a super simple menu,” Burrell told the Associated Press. “Basic, but well-made and local. Instead of putting the energy into a lot of elements, [we] have fewer elements and are taking the time to make them right.”

Another hearty dish: the restaurant’s breakfast poutine, made with beer gravy, poached or fried eggs, French fries, fried cheese curds and pickled onions. “It’s going to be the mainstay of our brunch menu,” chef Brendan Kawakami tells PEOPLE. But you don’t have to book a trip to try it — Kawakami shares the recipe below.

This isn’t Burrell’s first foray into the restaurant world: He already co-owns Bar-X, a cocktail bar located next door to the new spot.

His Hollywood pals think it’s funny he’s gotten into the bar business in a state with strict liquor laws.

“There’s usually some sort of confusion about why I’ve opened a bar in Salt Lake,” he admitted to the AP.

But opening a beer-focused eatery in the conservative city wasn’t so far-fetched for Burrell. Since 2008, the Emmy-winning actor and his family, including his wife, a Utah native, and two young daughters, have lived in Salt Lake City when he wasn’t shooting Modern Family in L.A. The Beehive State has gotten such raves from the Burrells that other family members — the actor’s mom, brother and several cousins — have also relocated there.

“I loved it from the first time I got here,” the funnyman said of the city best known for the 2002 Olympics and as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “It’s a very unassuming place, it’s a very humble place.”

Sounds like love at first sight. But right now, we’re more interested in love at first bite:

Breakfast Poutine

Serves 2

½ cup beer gravy (recipe below)

2 tbsp. pickled onions (recipe below)

4 eggs

6 oz. French fries, homemade or store-bought

¼ cup fried cheese curds (recipe below)

1. Prepare beer gravy and pickled onions. In a saucepan or skillet, poach or fry eggs, depending on your preference.

2. Prepare French fries and cheese curds.

3. Cover fries with gravy, eggs and fried cheese curds. Finish the plate with pickled onions.

Beer Gravy

1 lb. pork breakfast sausage

½ lb. unsalted butter

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup light lager

2 qts. whole milk

3 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. ground black pepper

1. Brown sausage in a saucepan over medium heat, reserving any rendered fat. Remove cooked sausage from pan and set aside.

2. Add butter to pan and melt, ensuring it doesn’t burn. Add flour and whisk until a thick paste is formed, adding more flour if necessary.

3. Add beer and whisk until mixture begins to thicken.

4. Begin adding the milk one cup at a time, maintaining medium heat and whisking until it thickens, then adding another cup. Continue adding milk until it has reached desired thickness and continue to whisk and simmer for a few minutes before adding the reserved sausage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Pickled Onions

1 qt. red wine vinegar

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. black peppercorns

1 lb. red onions, julienned

Bring vinegar to a simmer with bay leaves, salt, sugar and peppercorns and pour directly over sliced onions. Let sit, submerged until cool. They’re best when prepared one to seven days before.

Fried Cheese Curds

1 cup flour

½ tsp. salt

1½ tsp. baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup milk

1-2 lbs. cheese curds

In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add eggs and milk. Stir until batter is smooth, coat cheese curds with batter and fry in hot oil, about 1 minute per batch.

—Nancy Mattia