The Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown is home to unique animal exhibits, treetop adventures, and some hidden gems as food stands, including Chef Keith Taylor’s concession, Zachary’s BBQ & Soul. The U.S. Army vet also founded Chefsoul Culinary Enterprises, Inc. (CCP) in 1991 after attending Cornell and The Culinary Arts Institute and establishing himself in major restaurants in Manhattan.
Now his culinary empire is expanding even more.
The father of four recently announced his next three ventures, which vary in styles and offerings but all have Chef Taylor’s touch. It makes sense for the culinary whiz to offer such an array as well, as his website states CCP was created to accept engagements as a consultant for culinary operations and provide contract services in private dining, event-planning and freelance culinary assistance.
First up, Taylor is launching an interactive culinary studio in Norristown. According to a release, the Soul of Cooking Kitchen Experience will debut on March 20 at 6 p.m. inside of Corbett, Inc., a 40,000 square foot experience center focused on the creation of inspiring spaces inside a commercial complex at 56 Buttonwood Street. The first event is titled “Uptown Down South,” which will see Taylor’s team demonstrate their jambalaya recipe and a classic southern dessert. Tickets are $50 plus tax, gratuity, and a $5 COVID cleaning fee per guest, and all guests will be required to fill out a COVID questionnaire and have temperatures checked before entry.
In all, the new studio will offer a buffet of edible events including culinary experiences, education, engagement, interaction and more. The space, when it’s up and running at full speed, can hold 60 participants, but amidst the pandemic, events will be limited to 20. Taylor also has some collaborations set for future times with Chefs Patrick Feury and Sam Nahhas, the Executive Pastry Chef of Normandy Farm Hotel & Conference Center. Those specific experiences will range in terms of what guests will be learning and what they can expect.
In addition to live and virtual culinary demonstrations and collaborations, the space will also be used for team building and corporate events for up to 250 participants, when time allows.
Taylor has also signed a lease to open Zachary’s Commissary on 9 West Main Street in the heart of Norristown. The space, which will feature Taylor’s signature BBQ fare, plus additional menu items ranging from comfort food to deli favorites, will open in the spring. The release states that the new space will accommodate 50 seats and feature a “pit to plate” menu focusing on ribs and other smoked meats including brisket, pulled pork, and short ribs, along with oversized sandwiches, platters, and a variety of sides from collard greens to mac ‘n’ cheese. For dessert, Taylor will be unveiling his grilled house-made Dad’s Hat Rye Maple Syrup sticky buns as well. The BYOB restaurant will be open Mondays through Saturdays, and will also offer a variety of smoked meats by the pound to-go.
Lastly, Taylor will be working with Five Saints Distilling’s John and Amy George to lead the kitchen and the multi-level event space for the five-year-old distillery, which is located in a historic firehouse at 129 East Main Street in Norristown. Hungry patrons who visit the fresh spot later this spring can expect Taylor’s BBQ along with burgers, salads, sandwiches, side dishes and Beef on Weck, which is “a nod to the upstate NY-area,” where the Georges are from.
“Well, 2020 was a very tough year, but we’re ready to kick it into high gear,” said Taylor in a statement. “We have several very exciting new businesses on the horizon, and I really feel like this is our year to make a huge name for ourselves. I’m excited for the restaurant. I’m stoked about the studio kitchen. I’m excited to help a really great local brand in Five Saints Distilling. And I am ready to be one of the business leaders in the rising Norristown experience. Mostly, I’m just happy to be staying busy by sharing delicious food for hungry people.”