Given the time he spends shopping for clothes, playing the drums at open mic nights, and canvassing for votes as a Mr Laowai candidate, it is a wonder that former Parkside and Union chef Zach Lewison has any left for his new job as food and beverage coordinator at the soon-to-open Kro’s Nest. But there he is sweating day in and day out at the oven–when he isn’t doing chin-ups from a piece of rebar above it, that is. I talked to Lewison about kitchen plans at the new Kro’s Nest, expected to open in the middle of next month. (And yes, while he is aiming to be crowned Mr. Laowai, he is joking around with that last answer.)
Dairy Queen is beside the new Kro’s Nest and has RMB10 hot dogs. How can you compete?
They don’t have hot dogs at that Dairy Queen. They only have blizzards and sundaes.
What if they get hot dogs?
Hmm, I don’t know.
And what if they make a blizzard pizza? I’m just saying…
Well, we’re doing a dessert pizza. We bake the crust and cool it, then add melted chocolate, whipped cream, fruit, and other stuff.
Any other cool pizzas?
The Cheese Burger in Paradise: It includes tomato sauce, ground beef, a mozzarella and cheddar mix, dill pickles, raw tomatoes, and more.
We also have pizza sliders. We use dough on the top and the bottom, with the ingredients in the middle. The reason I came up with that idea is we’ll have people coming in looking for a burger and we can offer them the pizza slider or the Cheese Burger in Paradise.
What’s going on with the beverages?
We’re doing a decent-sized wine list, with 20 bottles and three by the glass, plus we’ll have draft by the pint and yard. There will be bottled beer and cocktails, including one called the Flaming Kro, kind of like The Simpson’s Flaming Moe. And we’re doing milkshakes and floats.
How about a shooter called the Kro Job?
The bar at night is called Kro Bar but there are no shooters for now.
Change of topic: Kro’s Nest sounds like a place where I would eat worms. Birds plus nest equals worms. What’s up with that?
Kro’s nickname comes from his youth. Where does a Kro live? In a nest. So you are coming into his restaurant, into his nest.
There are no worms?
If there are, you should probably get a discount.
Chinese cheese: Does it work on a pizza?
It could work but you’d have to be more gourmet. I wouldn’t do that at Kro’s because it doesn’t work with our pizzas.
What’s your favorite pizza?
I’m a simple guy, I like a margherita, hand tossed.
If you could be any pizza ingredient, what would you be and why?
I’d be the sauce, because this new role as food and beverage coordinator means I have to be the base for the food, the solid foundation.
If you are elected Mr. Laowai, how do you plan to change the world?
There will be more photos of me which will automatically beautify the city. If you remember, they put my picture on Union’s giant billboard and that brought in more customers. If I win the Mr. Laowai contest, it’ll probably bring in more tourists, more people who want to be a part of Beijing.
By the way, Lewison mentioned some new cooking techniques and it sounds like the droop won’t factor on some of those massive pies won’t be an issue at the new place. For more on the place, see: The new Kro’s Nest: Pizza oven vs front door, plus Q&A and a pic.