Photos by Lucie Monk Carter
The long-awaited Twine opened its doors on August 12, nearly two years since Chef Steven Diehl and his wife Kristin first tempted Baton Rouge with the idea of a Mid-City meat market. The delays will sound familiar to those who've dared to open a business here—a last-minute loss of location on Acadian Thruway, a heap of wasted publicity—but the Diehls kept on.
Not to wish dispiriting tangles with bureaucracy on anyone, but the headache may have been for the best. You'll agree when you step inside the new Twine. Or even before, as the meat market announces its arrival to Government Street drivers with a seven-foot-wide logo—first conceptualized by local designer Spencer Bagert with a bamboo brush and India ink—that decorates the corrugated storefront formerly occupied by Modern Meals. The interior's large commercial fridges and displays of raw, glistening meat secured from local purveyors do little to distract from the charm added by the surprise of recycled barn wood on two walls, low tables crowded with regional foodstuffs to pick through, and barn hooks that hoist high Twine's menu of bundled meal suggestions, which include prepared sides along with the meats you'll take home and cook yourself. You don't want just two fat pork chops; you want chipotle-glazed chops with Gouda grits and summer vegetables.
Bagert's aesthetic touches extend beyond the logo to stickers of animal silhouettes slapped on paper-wrapped proteins (a pig on your pork, a cow on your beef, etc.), the splashy menu behind the register, and T-shirts and caps to declare to others that Twine has won you over.
Is it just for the carnivores? Hardly. Steven Diehl's years as a personal chef have set broad horizons for the menu: shrimp marinated in harissa yogurt sauce and tuna poke join buckwheat soba salad and curry farro among the options. Twine's offerings (breakfast is available too) are primarily grab-and-go, though a visitor can just as easily sit and stay for lunch. On the docket for after hours are a sushi soirée (September 2 at 7 pm) and a beginners' cooking class (September 22 at 7 pm), both with Chef Steven, as well as private dinners and custom catering events at your leisure.
And one unspoken rule quickly learned by patrons of Twine: If you spring for the flourless chocolate cake to top off your dinner order, the Diehls will discreetly slip a fork in your bag—so you might dispense of the evidence on the drive home.
Twine 2921 Government Street Monday—Friday: 11 am–7 pm Saturday: 11 am—5 pm twinebr.com