Fire. It’s in the heart of every passionate chef. And it’s at the core of creating great food. And nowhere does the fire burn hotter than at Red Heat Tavern. Brand new to Wilmington Mass., the Red Heat Tavern is big and bustling, with high ceilings, a wraparound bar, and an open kitchen. Chef Martha Leahy helped create the restaurant’s concept, and the soul satisfying menu.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “Good ol’ stick to your ribs kind of food. Home style food, but we try to elevate it a little bit, we make everything scratch in our kitchen, and it’s a great place to have a beer with your friends and bring your family in and it’s lively and a lot of fun.”
Red Heat gets its name from the fire kissed food coming out of the kitchen, because much of it is cooked in a wood burning Josper Oven.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “The oven comes from Spain. There’s no electricity to it. We put coals in the bottom and that fires up and it’s in a box and so you’re containing the heat and the smoke in that box and it allows us to cook at a very high heat and infuse the flavor into the food. It’s a really fantastic way to cook and we’re one of the only ones here to have it in Massachusetts.”
And the kitchen crew, including Executive Chef Alan Frati, relishes the opportunity to work with this unique oven.
Alan Frati – Executive Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “It’s a great piece of equipment that we’re really lucky to have. It provides the food with great flavors, it give our chefs a great opportunity to use something that you don’t have in a regular restaurant.”
And since this oven can get up to more than 800 degrees, if you can’t stand the heat, this definitely ain’t your kind of kitchen.
Alan Frati – Executive Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “As you can see, it’s really hot back here. So you kind of have to have, as a chef, a certain type of stamina to work this station, it’s very difficult, much more difficult than working your traditional grill.”
Every meal at the Red Heat Tavern starts with a free basket of fresh baked Corn Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter. Then affordable appetizers include slow cooked Ribs with a Korean Barbeque Glaze, thick and crunchy Creole Potato Chips with addictive Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip, Loaded Fries smothered in cheese sauce, bacon, and gravy, and two types of wings that are baked, not fried.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “The wings we slow cook in the Josper oven and so it’s infused with the mesquite and then we toss them with our very special Buffalo sauce, it’s not like any other buffalo sauce you’ll ever taste and we also have a sweet Thai chili sauce that we toss in it and people go nuts over them, and it’s a great way to start a meal.”
Another great choice is the Latin inspired Roasted Corn on the Cob, slathered with ancho mayo and cotija cheese. And every bite is full of flavor.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “You’re going to get the sweet corn first and then you’re going to move into the smoky flavor from the Josper and the mesquite and then you go into the richness of the ancho mayo with a little spice and then you finish with some saltiness from the cheese. It’s fabulous, it’s so good.”
There’s plenty of comfort food coming out of the kitchen, like a crock of creamy Mac and Cheese topped with a crispy Onion String Crust and big chunks of Pork Belly, a Fire Roasted Meatloaf finished with homemade Ketchup, and the tongue tingling Red Heat Burger.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “It’s a great burger if you like a little fire. It has hot cherry peppers, it has a hot sriracha sauce and then we have a sweet sauce to balance a little bit so there’s a lot of heat in that and it really balances off that great angus burger that we put on the bun.”
For a deliciously different burger experience, try the Farmhouse, featuring thick cut toast smeared with Bacon Horseradish Mayo, a half pound angus cheeseburger with two slices of Applewood Smoked Bacon, and a gooey fried egg.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “When you bite into that burger you have that sunny side up egg and it just spills all over the burger and that blends with the horseradish mayo and the burger and the bacon and it’s just an explosion in your mouth.”
Much of the menu features meats you might grill in your own backyard, like juicy Turkey Tips Kabobs and Baby Back Memphis style Ribs. But when it comes to real bang for your buck, there’s no better value than the grilled fourteen ounce Ribeye with Herb Parmesan Fries.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “We believe in value and all our entrees are under 18 dollars. This is one entree that just kind of tops that and for 25 dollars you get a certified angus ribeye that’s 14 ounces, and we top it with a horseradish butter. You can’t get a better ribeye within 50 miles.”
From steaks, to burgers, to all kinds of shareable snacks, Red Heat Tavern is the kind of place that serves great food at an exceptional value, with a team that strives to make the meal great every step of the way.
Martha Leahy- Concept Chef, Red Heat Tavern: “When you first come into the parking lot the first thing you react to is the smell and the mesquite from the Josper oven and that gets you hungry. And when the food comes out you see all the effort that we put into the food it’s a scratch kitchen, and that flavors in there all the way to when we finish your dishes, so when you get your check, you’re going to be amazed by the value and blown away by the food you got that day and the experience you had.”
300 Lowell Street