Chef/restaurateur Zack Sklar is preparing to open Birmingham's Au Cochon, a French-inspired café. The restaurant — one of two projects headed for the former Chen Chow Brasserie space — debuts at 5 p.m. this Friday. The 1,500-square-foot restaurant was designed by Chicago-based 555 International and features an open kitchen layout with copper, brass, and steel integrated throughout. Au Cochon seats a total of 112 diners including 12 on the patio and 20 at the bar. The kitchen will be shared by sister restaurant Arthur Avenue (expected to follow in the next several weeks).
Sklar and executive chef Mark Barbarich collaborated on Au Cochon's menu, which includes dishes like fresh cheese and truffle honey, salmon and chickpea crepes, and a half chicken. The eatery offered a photo preview of the food Tuesday on its Facebook page. Au Cochon will also offer a full-bar with craft cocktails and wine.
The Palladium 12 project hasn't been altogether smooth sailing for Sklar. In May, the Birmingham Commission unanimously voted down the chef's request for a patio platform, despite Sklar's insistence that the projects would not work without one. This will be restaurant group Peas & Carrots Hospitality's second venture to debut this year. Chicago eatery Bernie's Lunch & Supper opened in August. Sklar is also said to be eying Detroit for future developments.
Au Cochon will open for dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday. The bar will stay open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Details about lunch and brunch are forthcoming.