First Look: The Benevolent King in Maplewood

Restaurateur and chef Ben Poremba is a busy man. The owner of OlioElaiaNixtaParigi and La Patisserie Chouquette is putting the finishing touches on his newest restaurant, The Benevolent King, set to open in early April.

As The Scoop reported last week, the James Beard Award-nominee announced he will open the Moroccan-inspired eatery at 7268 Manchester Road in Maplewood, in the former home of Water Street.

The menu will feature a selection of small plates and some larger entrees that will change almost daily, like plat tunisienne: harissa-smoked sturgeon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, oil-cured olives and semi-dried tomatoes. Dishes will be inspired by the flavors of the region rather than traditional Moroccan cuisine.

Bar manager Tony Saputo helms the beverage program, which boasts a variety of drinks named for some of the appellations adopted by Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco and the restaurant’s namesake. These include the Grand Master of Fidelity with green tea-infused 12 Foot Beard bourbon, mint syrup, grapefruit juice, lime juice and Bittercube Jamaican No. 2 bitters. 

The cozy space is replete with gold, black and white tones and a variety of patterns and textures, along with creations from local artists, including whimsical animal paintings by Jordan Gaunce of Portrait Your Pet and window and mirror graphics from Phil Jarvis.

The Benevolent King will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close. Here’s a first look at the latest addition to Maplewood’s culinary scene.