Restaurant Guide: Localvores Unite
The farm-to-table movement is sweeping the state. Why? Supporting local farms builds communities—and fresh food just plain tastes better. Here are some restaurants at the fore of the movement.
Research assistance by Rebecca Kasman
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425 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin
For two years running, Back Burner chef Kristin McGuigan has teamed with the Delaware Nature Society for a wild plant nature walk and dinner. Guests embarked on a walk of Burrows Run Preserve, then gathered everything from violets to Jerusalem artichokes to morel mushrooms to watercress to fiddlehead ferns and so on, then took them back to the restaurant for McGuigan to cook. Local venison and Paradocx Vineyard wines helped fill out the menu. The Burner’s legendary pumpkin mushroom soup is a locally made delight, and the rest of the menu is filled with goodies such as local lamb chops with a local root vegetable phyllo purse and Formisano Farms fennel slaw. “Local, small farms put as much detail into growing as we chefs put into preparing our dishes,” McGuigan says.
6 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany, 537-1500
18385 Coastal Hwy., Lewes, 644-2500
The custom-built smoker used at Bethany Blues (affectionately known as Lil’ Reggie) receives spicy sausages manufactured at Kirby & Holloway Provisions in Milton. Prime beef comes from Hickman’s Meat Market in Rehoboth. Lewes Dairy milk goes into the macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, batters, desserts and dressings. Lewes Fish House supplies seafood, and Dogfish Head Brewery provides the signature birch beer, Blue Hen Vodka and other beverages. Locally grown and seasonal produce accompanies all that finger-lickin’ barbecue.
Bistro on the Brandywine
1623 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, Pa.
(610) 388-8090, bistroonthebrandywine.com
The “On the Brandywine” appellation is important to note, since the Dan Butler-owned Bistro takes advantage of some of the valley’s best products. Places like SIW Vegetables, located on H.G. Haskell’s farm in Chadds Ford, are visited weekly for the latest crops, which sous chef Brian Crowley uses to make into daily specials such as portabella mushroom and pekin duck salad with Jamison Farms mushrooms. The Bistro’s bar is stocked with bottles from Chaddsford Winery and beers from Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and Yards Brewing Co. in Philadelphia.
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