We thought we were meeting with Frank Oley at Dutch Fred’s to try a few of their famous cocktails and chat about the inspiration behind the name of the bar. But instead we got a full-on cocktail craft show with smoke and fire, and a new drink created on the spot. Our showman-mixologist Frankie showed us what “wowing” guests at the bar really means, and why Dutch Fred’s is just the place to do it at.
- We heard that Dutch Fred’s has a fascinating story behind its name. Where does it come from?
Legend says, that Hell’s Kitchen got its name during Prohibition, when veteran officer “Dutch Fred” witnessed a neighborhood riot with his rookie partner on West 39th St. and 10th Ave. The Rookie supposedly said, “This place is Hell” and Dutch Fred replied, “Hell is a mild climate. This is Hell’s Kitchen”. The name stuck and Hell’s Kitchen was born. The bar is named after that well-spoken officer.
- What does make Dutch Fred’s stand out among countless Hell’s Kitchen bars and make it special?
We are a very experienced and passionate team here at Dutch Fred’s, and we offer a different experience than most Hell’s Kitchen bars. Our cocktail program is extraordinary. And you cannot go wrong with a single item on the food menu.
- You are famous for your signature cocktails. How do you come up with the recipes and what inspires you?
Our bar team has been in a craft cocktail world for a long time now and can design a cocktail within our head and no recipe. Each and every cocktail on or off the menu has a different inspiration and meaning behind it. But I have to say that a craft cocktail has four very important components to it – presentation, aromatics, taste profile and balance. And our cocktail program shines through them all. Any cocktail we make is a work of art – whether it is a Double Smoked Old-Fashioned where we use a smoking gun, or The Working Class Hero where we trap smoke in a pre-batched cocktail and then hand it to a guest to let them pour it in their own glass, or even the Kinky Boots with its natural raspberry color garnished with an orchid and fresh raspberry on top. When people see something being made different and unique way, smell the cocktail while it is being prepared, it makes the experience so much better. “Wowing” the guests with our craft is extremely important here at Dutch Fred’s.
- What is your favorite cocktail to make?
On our menu, it is The Working Class Hero. It is made with Teeling Irish Whiskey, Carpano Antica, Caramel Porter Reduction with Smoke. It is fun to watch the crowd get amazed over putting smoke in a bottle. Making this cocktail is a show on its own.
- What would you get from the dinner menu to go with it?
I would recommend getting the Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna to go with The World Class Hero – it is like a party in your mouth. For those who prefer a vegetarian option, the Eggplant Chips would be amazing. I think honey glaze and caramel smoke is one of the best culinary inventions.
- What do you think locals and neighborhood guests would like the most about Dutch Fred’s?
I think everybody would really appreciate our staff. We all have great personalities and are very passionate about what we do. The decor of Dutch Fred’s is unbelievably gorgeous. We also have a live band playing every Saturday and Sunday during brunch.
- What is your favorite part of the work evening at Dutch Fred’s?
There isn’t a better feeling than giving guests a great “cocktail show” to remember a bar in NYC and particularly in Hell’s Kitchen. Our team here loves the craft!
- Which classic cocktail do you think would complement the vibe of the neighborhood the most and why?
I want to go with an Old-Fashioned. Hell’s Kitchen is an Old-Fashioned Neighborhood (as in an Old Neighborhood), and we are going through an Old-Fashioned boom right now. At Dutch Fred’s, we are also well known for our special Old-Fashioned. And off the menu, when I am behind the bar I make and amazing Smoked Old-Fashioned. It is a must-try!