First it was Piper’s Kilt. Then it was P & K Grille, a name that has stuck for five years. And now that popular eatery at West 231st Street has a new name: The Kilt.
Seth Kaplan, who owns the up-to-date version of a classic neighborhood hangout spot with Joe Irizzary, took over P & K Grille in March 2016. But after three months of managing it, the two decided a complete overhaul was needed last June.
“We came to the conclusion after (a) very thorough analysis and a lot of number crunching that the only way really to keep this as a place that people in the neighborhood could enjoy and make it what it once was, was to gut it, renovate it, and modernize it physically,” Kaplan said. “We knew what we wanted it to be. We wanted to keep the essence of what the place always was.”
Although an official sign has yet to grace the front of the establishment, The Kilt Bar & Grill reopened in early February with a modernized interior, more televisions ready to air sporting events, and board games like Jenga and Connect Four available on each table.
The former Piper’s Kilt still has a special place in Kaplan’s heart.
As an area native, he visited the place frequently with friends and family.
“Growing up, for me, it had always been a staple for being the best burger and the best wings in the Bronx,” he said.
Kaplan and his team of bartenders and cooks have tried to work to that standard by maintaining the establishment’s previous relationships — and creating new ones — with food and drink vendors, and constantly learning how to improve their day-to-day service.
“We’re continually looking to raise the bar and make it better and keep up with the trends both on the bar side of things as well as the food side,” Kaplan said. “Our ultimate goal is to be the best craft kitchen in the Bronx.”
The Kilt’s reopening has brought a “mix of people” to sit down and have a good time, Kaplan added.
“The old regulars who have been in here before are coming back in and are happy to see us back,” he said. “People that are new to the neighborhood or who were never regulars before are happy that they have a new place to go for great food and drinks.”
But the “million dollar question” Kaplan said he’s received is whether or not the establishment’s former 50-cent wing night would make a return. And it did — The Kilt shared on Facebook earlier this month the event has made a triumphant return to Monday nights at 8.
“It is the No. 1 question we’ve gotten on our website,” Kaplan said. “It is one of the top three questions that people ask who have previously come in here. So it’s definitely on a lot of people’s minds.”
With the return of wing night as well as new additions to The Kilt’s calendar — weekend brunch, trivia Tuesdays and ladies night — Kaplan hopes people know The Kilt has only changed in looks, not in what it stands for.
“The old Piper’s Kilt is the essence,” he said. “It’s the cornerstone that everything else happens around. The staple here will always be the burgers and wings.
“That was this place was built on, that was what I grew up on, that’s what I want the kids in the neighborhood today to be able to come in and grow up on.”