But within days after canceling their pop-ups for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic, it was clear to Schulz that they needed a backup plan because "there wasn’t a place for Menuette in this world.”
“We figured, let’s just start over,” he said.
Now, in that same Brookline building, the duo has opened Oak Hill Post. They’ve swapped multi-course dinners for takeout staples: sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Schulz says there are obvious nods to Menuette in their new menu, noting that the way he has created menu items in the past — by exploring the intersection of musical composition and food — won’t change. But, he says, it will be more casual.
“What we learned was that most of these [dishes] we have done in the past also make great sandwiches,” Schulz says. “A lot of our more unique dishes are now going to be served in between slices of bread, with alterations.”
A popular dish from one of their earlier dinners, octopus with Italian sausage, olives, pearl onions, orange, and toum (a Middle Eastern condiment, like a pungent whipped garlic) finished with a herb oil and balsamic dressing, has been transformed into a handheld. The new sandwich boasts deep-fried octopus, sausage, an olive spread, and a garlic-tarragon aioli.
The partners are also bringing back a few items straight from past pop-ups, like the umami bomb burger that premiered at Hitchhiker Brewing Co. last summer. (The burger — piled with mushroom ragu, pickled beets, triple cream blue cheese, bacon jam, and dijon mustard — is exactly what it sounds like, an explosion of rich flavors.) Buttermilk biscuits and colossal buckeyes, items favored on Menutte’s pay-what-you-can online shop, are also planned to make appearances on the menu at Oak Hill.
New plates include a sandwich with the working title “man, bear, pig” that plays on a classic fried bologna sandwich with crispy mortadella, roast beef, fontina cheese, dijon mustard, and giardiniera pickles.
Schulz and Nicholson came up with the name Oak Hill when researching Brookline’s history. Before it became more suburban, Schulz explained, the neighborhood was located on top of mines called the Oak Mine, and Brookline was often referred to as Oak Hill.
The duo has chosen to be a "post," rather than a restaurant, cafe, or a bistro, because, as Schulz explains, “those ideas seem pretty obsolete to me now. [And] they can be pretty toxic environments. We don’t want that at all. We don’t want to be part of a system that maybe does more harm than good.”
“The idea of a post was just kind of interesting and thought provoking and felt like an open-ended thing that could be explored in the future,” he continues.
Schulz predicts that Oak Hill Post will remain takeout only for the rest of the year; operating at 25% capacity would only allow the restaurant to serve three-and-a-half people at once, he explains. Once things have settled, he and Nicholson hope to bring back Menuette dinners. But until then, they’re open for takeout (online ordering is strongly encouraged) from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Oak Hill Post. 600 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. oakhillpost.com