Farm-to-Table Stars

Photo courtesy of Tired Hands Brew Cafe

Photo courtesy of Tired Hands Brew Cafe

by Emily Kovach

You’ll never find a Sysco truck unloading produce into the kitchens of these restaurants—their goal is to keep it local, all year round. The farm-to-table trend certainly had its moment, and in some scenes that moment may have passed. But in our neighborhoods, there is no shortage of chefs holding true to their commitment to support local farmers and crafting their menu according to the mandates of the seasons. Here are our stars.

Aldine 
1901 Chestnut St.
Eight local farms supply much of the product that shapes the menu of thoughtful modern cuisine and drinks at George and Jennifer Sabatino’s first restaurant venture. Corn from Green Meadow Farms in Gap, Pennsylvania, gets a luxurious makeover as custard, plated with radish, black truffle and maitake tempura, while blueberries from Three Springs Fruit Farm in Aspers, Pennsylvania, are muddled into a lively vodka cocktail. The bar also offers a long list of locally crafted spirits and beers. 

Farm & Fisherman Tavern and Market  
1442 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, N.J. 
Though the original Gayborhood location shuttered earlier this year, this Cherry Hill outpost is going strong. Utilizing an impressive amount of product from nearby New Jersey farms, the dishes here are approachable crowd pleasers. Burgers and gussied-up bar snacks may dominate, but you can still find a $28 lamb tasting on the summer menu. 

Helm
1303 N. 5th St.
Each and every item on Helm’s chalkboard menu is designed to highlight super seasonal ingredients, many of which come from local urban farms. Though the three word descriptions of the dishes (“Cod, Squash, Caesar”) smack of pretension, this BYOB’s vibe is decidedly friendly and casual. 

JG Domestic 
2929 Arch St. 
The glossy, modern lobby of the Cira Centre might be the last place you’d expect to find a farm-to-table restaurant, but Jose Garces did not shy away from bringing the local action to this University City businessplex. The entire menu spotlights domestic, artisanal products, but the honey, produce and eggs from Garces’ own Luna Farm in Bucks County show off a cool model of vertically integrated sustainability. 

Kensington Quarters
1310 Frankford Ave.
While Kensington Quarters strives to highlight seasonal produce and local dairy, meat takes front and center here. Doubling as a butcher shop, the focus—from chicken to chuck roast—is on whole-animal butchery from humanely raised stock. The housemade charcuterie, pork chop, butcher’s steak and barbecue chicken are gratifying options for conscientious meat eaters. 

Lotus Farm to Table 
112 West State St., Media, Pa.
In Media, Pennsylvania, you’ll find beautiful, simple, farm-to-table fare at Lotus. Started by Courtney Rozsas, a Drexel University alumna with a passion for Chinese medicine, and helmed by Chef Ryan Sulikowski, Lotus serves sophisticated, nourishing dishes for lunch and dinner, like purple potato salad, grilled watermelon, and salmon with summer squash and green tomato ratatouille. 

Pumpkin  
1713 South St.
Long before sustainability was a buzzword, and before South Street west of Broad
was hip, this pocket-sized BYOB was there, serving up farm-fresh food. To eat your way across the ever-changing menu, try the Sunday evening prix fixe special: $45 for five tantalizing courses (think chorizo with green beans, corn and pickled green tomato). 

Russet 
1521 Spruce St. 
Tucked inside a charming 19th century townhouse on Spruce Street, chef-owner couple Andrew and Kristin Wood have been putting up beautiful plates made with local ingredients since 2012. The daily changing menu, informed by Italian and French flavors and techniques, is best enjoyed on the outdoor patio with a bottle of wine you’ve toted along. 

Tired Hands Brew Cafe 
16 Ardmore Ave.
Since storming onto the local craft beer scene in 2011, beer lovers from far and wide have flocked here to sample the creative and sometimes odd Belgian- and French-inspired ales dreamed up in this tiny brewery. The small but carefully curated menu
is perfect modern day drinking food: pickles, sandwiches, salads, cheese and charcuterie all from within 100 miles of their Main Line locale. 

Urban Farmer 
1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Situated at a swanky address inside The Logan hotel, this “modern steakhouse” strives for transparency when it comes to their list of local food partners. Their website lists dozens of farms and purveyors including Creekstone Farms, Stryker Farm and Birchrun Hills Farm. If a sustainably raised steak is what you’re after, there may be no better selection than here. 

Wyebrook Farm
150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook, Pa.
It may be an hour’s drive from the city, but the trek is worth it to experience table-on-farm dining. A 360-acre operational farm committed to biodiversity, sustainability and social ethics, Wyebrook Farm is also home to a lovely restaurant. The kitchen uses only meat raised on premises and local produce—and breezy outdoor courtyard seating offers epic views.