Mattie Beason and John Eisensmith welcome you to the first-of-its-kind cider-focused restaurant in the Southeast, featuring the largest variety of cider, with over 80 ciders available on tap or in bottles.
Named after an old southern cider apple, Black Twig features a Txotx (pronounced /CHO-ch/), a Spanish cider barrel from which patrons can taste Spanish cider in 3 ounce pours. Learn more about the Txotx.
A cider expert, Beason has been one of just eight cider instructors for the US Association of Cider Makers, and is excited to bring his cider knowledge and passion to the Durham community.
The menu features locally sourced Firsthand Food sausages with Guglhupf buns, house made toppings and elevated bar fare.
Co-Owner: Black Twig Cider House in Durham, Mattie B’s Public House, Six Plates Wine Bar
A native of Durham, NC, Matthew Beason is an integral component of the rising culinary culture in his community. Attaining his certification in cider through Sicera, Beason continues to grow the expanding cider community with the opening of Black Twig Cider House.
“This passion for cider started ten years ago while traveling through the Basque region and experiencing not only the incredible varietals of ciders but also being a part of the communal aspect around the txotx, the cider barrel,” states Beason. “I knew I wanted to make that a part of the Durham community.”
Beason experienced a similar cultural revelation with wine while attending Kenyon College, attaining a degree in Philosophy and Business Ethics. Dining at L’Arpege in Paris, a Michelin three-star restaurant, Beason enjoyed a bottle of 1995 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc, revolutionizing his appreciation for wine and becoming a converted oenophile.
Upon graduation, Beason immersed himself into the burgeoning food scene of Durham, developing the wine program at Pop’s, a popular Italian eatery, and it’s sister restaurant, Nana’s, which earned the “Award of Excellence” from The Wine Spectator. In 2007, Beason branched out with his own wine concept, Six Plates, a wine-pairing restaurant with a revolving menu around six different plates of food. Cited in The New York Times as one of the forbearers of Durham’s local culinary scene with his famous “lamby joe” sandwich, Beason illustrated in his first restaurant his adept leadership in the culinary evolution of his hometown.
A prominent food and beverage innovator, Beason continues to evolve his passion for pairing beverages with food, expanding the selection from wine to include cider and craft beers with the opening of Mattie B’s Public House in 2013 and his new Black Twig Cider House in the spring of 2016. Beason’s philanthropic ties to the community are vast and most notable with his participation in the Urban Ministries, helping to bring food, shelter and a future to the poor and homeless in Durham.
Chef/Co-Owner: Black Twig Cider House, Mattie B’s Public House, Six Plates Wine Bar
An innate chef and artist, John Eisensmith is expanding his repertoire by venturing outside of the kitchen in this new endeavor, Black Twig Cider House. An accomplished, CIA trained chef that was responsible for a revolving locally sourced six plate wine-pairing menu for Six Plates Wine Bar, the new Black Twig allows him the leverage to step out of his beloved kitchen and become a part of the front-of-house operations, expanding the brand and being more connected to the Durham community.
“Part of this move is to reach a broader audience, to be more a part of uplifting people’s lives through our restaurant and to reach people on an everyday level. I’ll always be a part of the kitchen, but this expansion gives me a larger role to play.”
Eisensmith will still be involved with overseeing the Black Twig locally sourced menu featuring Firsthand sausages with housemade toppings and elevated bar food. “The fattiness of the sausages pairs perfectly with the acidic cider and brings a new culinary experience to Durham.”
Intrigued by the kitchen at an early age watching his grandfather cook meals at their family farm, Eisensmith’s culinary career has led him to many esteemed culinary cities, including the Outer Banks, Miami, Nantucket and ultimately Durham. Hailing from his hometown in York Haven, PA, Eisensmith found the local farming community, the educational component of the local universities, the changing seasons and the independent food community of Durham made this a perfect fit for him to set down his culinary roots. In early 2010, Eisensmith joined Mattie Beason as the chef of Six Plates, which led to a partnership in 2013 as the two opened Mattie B’s Public House and in 2016, Black Twig Cider House. Together, Beason and Eisensmith run restaurants committed to delivering elevated dining and outstanding customer experiences.
Eisensmith has a strong philanthropic spirit and is involved in numerous Durham charities, most notably Urban Ministires, Camp Kesem, the Ronald McDonald House and Farm Aid. Working closely with the Art Institute, Eisensmith plays a key role in developing internships in his kitchen for rising culinary students, helping them to receive the training they need to find future positions. Free time outside of the restaurant is a rarity for Eisensmith, but when it does occur you’ll find him hiking or canoeing with his wife, trying his hand at amateur wood working and cooking lavish dinner parties for family and friends.