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Monkey Wrench’s kitchen to change at the New Year

Dennie Humphrey, owner of The Monkey Wrench, the popular bar, restaurant and music showcase at 1025 Barret Ave., has decided to rent out the kitchen and restaurant space–which will be known as The Monkey’s Uncle Grill–to Matt Davis and Bret Donaldson. The idea of renting the kitchen had been developing in his mind for some time, and starting the new year with a new food concept seemed the right thing to do.

Davis operates the Lil Cheezers food truck (and briefly settled that business down last year on Baxter Ave, where El Taco Luchador now resides) and Donaldson owns Stellar Craft Catering. The two food guys met at one music festival last year, and partnered to run concessions as some others. Because Davis and Donaldson “know food cost, and they know how to make a quality product that is affordable,” Humphrey said he approached them about taking over his kitchen.

Humphrey will share in the food sales, with the complications of the partnership to be worked out more formally as the project matures.

The Monkey Wrench’s food reputation blossomed under chef Dustin Staggers, who last year left the bar to open Roux and Rumplings Slurp Shop. Under the new regime coming in, Humphey said, the new menu will offer the new chefs’ take on neighborhood bar food. The Monkey’s Uncle Grill will begin offering a limited menu on New Year’s Eve, with Lil Cheezers’ various takes on grilled cheese and pub fare. The menu then will be expanded in early January. Items will cost about $6 to $14, Humphrey said.

The kitchen’s hours will be 4 to 10 p.m. or later Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 p.m. to midnight or later on Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.