Step into Boundary Stone, on Rhode Island Avenue in Bloomingdale, and all you might expect is a nice, cold and hopefully local beer, and some sturdy bar food to maintain yourself. A friendly face pulling the tap and a decent price to keep you coming back, if you’re lucky. And sure, you definitely will find your cold beer and the comforts of a neighborhood spot for regulars to gather.

There’s far more to Boundary Stone than just that though, and they’ll soar past whatever expectations you may have had at first glance. That’s the way they like it, too, and the team is happy both to surprise, and then to keep you coming back for more.

Chef Travis Kern was hired earlier in the year after a stint as sous chef at Art & Soul. He offers a seasonally updated menu, including changing weekly chef specials. And while the everyday burgers, wings and snacks all come highly recommended, those chef’s specials are where it’s at.

On a recent visit, specials included the likes of Fried Pork Nuggets, with confit pork, smoked mozzarella and jalapenos, the Triple Bacon Burger, with Meats & Foods bacon, and house-made bacon jam and bacon mayo along with cheddar cheese, and a seemingly humble plate of fried chicken with bacon grits and collard greens that will blow you away.

The fried chicken was the perfect mix of juicy and succulent with crispy, flavorful skin. Chef Kern may be trying to steer clear of strictly southern food after his time at Art & Soul, but seriously, this fried chicken needs to be available on a full-time basis.

To wash it all down, you’ll find a large and diverse whiskey lineup. In addition to the extensive list, there’s a few dozen more whiskeys up on the chalkboard including hard to nab labels and special releases, and those are gone once the bottle is finished, so don’t miss out.

The whiskey selection also currently includes two private barrel selections from Woodford Reserve, of which the Boundary Stone team has done three so far altogether. Taste both to see for yourself how variables such as barrel location affect a whiskey’s final taste; Boundary Stone Select II offers a rye spice and oak dominant profile, while The G offers a far sweeter, rounder taste.

Elsewhere, you’ll find rotating craft beers on tap, and a cocktail list which is short and focused on the classics, although often with unique twists. That Irish coffee showcased above is actually a delicious cold brew coffee cocktail.

Visit on the weekends for bottomless bloody Marys or mimosas for $12, and standout brunch sandwiches such as the Meats & Foods Chorizo Sausage Sandwich, topped with an over easy egg, chihuahua cheese and roasted tomatillo salsa, or the B.E.L.T. Sandwich, with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg on a brioche bun with black pepper mayo.

Boundary Stone is also set to expand towards the end of the year. They’re knocking down the walls and moving into the adjacent space, nearly doubling their capacity while also adding a stage for live music. The bar will remain open during the transition, although the kitchen will be closed for a brief period. Better get your fried chicken fix in before that happens.

Visit to check out their menu and other offerings.