Cinder is still serving up fancy pizzas to go with its long list of drafts, but there’s a new chef tossing the dough. In February, owner Teddy Sourias lost Jonathan Petruce, who left to join Michael Schulson’s expanding empire. Now Oliver Munguia, who’s been cooking with Sourias’ Craft Concepts Group since last year, is running the kitchen at Cinder (1500 Locust Street) and working off a new menu.
The chef spent time at Reef, Green Eggs Cafe, and Melograno, which don’t really seem to have anything in common besides Munguia. But he called on that varied experience to move the menu at his new digs beyond pizza, charcuterie, and mussels — those options remain, but Munguia added 16 new dishes, including smoked scallops, duck spring rolls, and broccoli tempura.
“Reef was a fulfilling experience because I'd never had firsthand experience working with some of the classic Caribbean flavors,” Munguia says. “I learned to embrace some of the spicy and more exotic elements, which I integrated into my style.” Melograno was a “similarly educational experience,” he says: “Although I was already familiar with Italian cuisine, the sophistication and elegance present left a lasting impact on me.”
To go with his food at Cinder, the restaurant continues to focus on ciders, sours, and wild ales, though there are also 16 wines available by the glass (one for each new plate, perhaps). There’s also a new happy hour, Monday to Friday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Brunch, which Munguia is an old hand at from Green Eggs, will be added later this spring. “I fell in love with brunch,” he says. “You’ll have to check back with Cinder in another month to see where that takes us."
For now, take a look at some of Munguia’s new plates: