When chef/owner AJ Haines closed Mason Jar Provisions this past June he had a bigger, bolder concept already cooking. That concept evolved into Hen & Hog, opening this fall in the former Manzano’s Deli location at 221 W. Fairbanks Ave.
Haines grew up working his way through old cookbooks with his Italian family. And it’s from these traditions of fresh ingredients and bold flavors that his passion began to simmer. As Haines puts it, “I’m not in the business of making mediocre food.”
From Pizza Mia to The Parkview on Park Ave, Haines has a rich history of leaving indelible spices throughout the central Florida foodie scene. He opened Mason Jar Provisions right before the pandemic, and has evolved his approach to please a new generation of customers who demand a comfortable dine-in space with takeout options.
Hen & Hog will have a fun, upscale southern barn aesthetic with cage lights above cutting board tables, not unlike Mason Jar. Haines is also excited to introduce an expanded, on-brand menu.
“I always try to locally source, and we’re looking at creating a farmhouse type atmosphere. We work with a few distributors and I really like to pick the best of the best to help create the menu ideas,” Haines shared, adding, “It’s a new version of MJP with some of the old favorites, plus a bunch of new items. We’ll also be adding beer and wine. More platters and entrees will hit the menu in the evening; pot pie, steak and potatoes, more vegetable options. Fried chicken and pasta night will be on the horizon, just not maybe right away.”
Fans of Mason Jar Provisions will remember the southern sweets and desserts from Choulala executive pastry chef Stephanie Krupp. Fear not, Haines and Krupp are expanding the partnership at Hen & Hog with exclusive menu items like the peach cobbler, banana pudding creme brulee, and their pecan pie éclair.
“It’s Mason Jar Provisions, only bigger and better,” Haines said. “We’re going to play around with it and I really love seeing the smiles on people’s faces.”