Free State Kitchen
A contemporary twist on American classic burgers, using quality, local produce.
Kate and Gary – the local couple behind Free State Kitchen – have been serving up their contemporary twist on American classics for over seven years now. With a loyal group of regular customers, their restaurant situated just off Hope Street has become one of those hidden gems in Liverpool that ‘if you know, you know!’
There’s no doubt that the team behind Free State Kitchen are well loved by their guests. During lockdown, their customers continued to support them by purchasing gift vouchers, something which Kate is incredibly proud of. “We were blown away by the support we received from our regulars. It made us realise that despite the difficulties we were facing, we really were doing something right.”
Lockdown gave Kate and the team a chance to reflect on what really mattered to them. Naturally, safety has always been at the top of their list having held a 5* food hygiene rating for the last seven years. They signed up to the Foursquare Covid-Safe certification to give their staff and their customers an extra level of confidence prior to their reopening in July and made a few small changes with safety in mind. Their tables are now socially distanced, and they’ve opted for a new menu format which can be washed and disinfected between each use. They also took some time to refresh their beautiful garden space which – thanks to Kate’s Mum – must be one of the best outdoor seating areas in the city.
They faced a few challenges along the way, with some trusted suppliers closing because of Covid-19. However, Kate is confident that they’re back on track with a full menu of burgers, their much-loved Hot Wings, seasonal specials and homemade desserts.
“Lockdown gave us the chance to try out some new dishes for our new look menu, such as our Buffalo Fried Chicken Burger, Vegan Chilli Nachos and the return of our Reuben Sandwich, now with home cured salt beer. We’re really pleased with our new and old dishes and our customers certainly agree!” And it seems their customers are right as August became a record month for Free State Kitchen, with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme seeing them consistently busy during an already a popular time.
Kate has big plans for the autumn. Free State Kitchen have teamed up with Danish brewery Mikkeller to run a beer & food pairing night in October which has already received several bookings. They’re introducing patio heaters to their outdoor area to allow people to make the most of their socially distanced outdoor space for a little while longer. And they’re already taking reservations for their fantastic 4-course Thanksgiving feast in November, with regular customers keen to return to celebrate.
But that’s not all… Wanting to make the most of their large outdoor space in the colder months, Free State Kitchen’s Winter Snug will be returning in the autumn. This genuine Mongolian yurt is fully insulated and heated with a wood burning stove and can accommodate up to 30 people, allowing them a second socially-distanced space which their customers can reserve for events or private dining, or participate in organised activities such as Christmas wreath making. “We’re very mindful of social distancing, and we wanted to ensure that all of our customers have the opportunity to enjoy our offering safely. Having this additional space outside will help to compensate for the covers we’ve lost in our main dining area because of distancing measures”.
Kate is confident that the future is bright for Free State Kitchen thanks to their great team and loyal customers. “Lockdown taught us that we need to continue doing what we do well. We’re not going to cut corners or reduce our menu. Covid-19 cannot be an excuse for poor service or sub-standard food. We’re going to continue giving our customers a great experience every time they visit us, just as we did before.”