We are born with a connection to where we live that is lost the moment we are fed our first bottled formula. The arrowroot in our first Gerber teething biscuit, that might have been grown in the West Indies, may not be unhealthy but certainly isn’t of our native land. It takes packaging and extensive (and expensive) shipping to get the first juice boxes into our young hands. As I shared in I’m Not Vegan (and neither are you), where and how our food is produced can be more important than what we choose to eat. We are still vegan for anyone wondering if this is to justify a personal change.
When we choose to eat mindfully, we draw our focus closer to home and connect with what is native. Doing so is how we found Revival Kitchen in Reedsville, PA. This blog has always focused on what is (or has been) available in Central Pennsylvania and Revival Kitchen is a way for us to reconnect with what is dear to us. It provides thoughtful dining with a focus on local and seasonal foods from our native land.
The head chef and owner have close and regular communication with local farmers to plan seasonal menus. We hesitated to visit because we could not see anything of the menu that was vegan. I am very shy about asking for modifications or special dishes to be made for us (why our Pennsytucky Veggie Awards were based on regular menu items with no modifications). What changed our minds was an organized group vegan dinner at Revival Kitchen where we had a chance to talk with the Owner Liz Hoffner who assured me that, with a small advanced notice, Chef Quintin Wicks could accommodate us regularly! License to ask for “special” with reasonable notice opened up our world to reconnecting with seasonal and local dining!
Since then, we have dined at Revival Kitchen multiple times. We have taken family and friends who are omnivorous and they enjoyed everything they were served. They told us the gnocchi was done perfectly. The locally raised and butchered beef thrilled and satisfied one of the (self described) pickiest eaters I have ever known. We have all raved about the Coffee Roasted Beets that rightfully won the Sixth Annual Golden Basket Award this year.
Chef Q knows how to celebrate food for what it is with complimentary flavors, textures and impeccable plating. When your dish is set before you, it is a feast for the eyes that prepares you for the ultimate dining experience. Imagine colorful pressed melon bars that have been infused with wine and, in pure Central PA style, topped with a little sea salt. Caramelized grill marks on veggies that are charming with their root ends still recognizable make you stop to appreciate the local foods you are about to eat. Autumnal squash never gets boring at Revival Kitchen, perfect cubes of golden butteriness or wafer thin circles of delicata squash play with your eyes before treating your palate. Forget the tired old plank of zucchini, here you will be served with small lozenges of the squash that are immediately recognizable by allowing a section of their vibrant emerald skin on. Recently, we were overjoyed to be reintroduced to a vegetable we hadn’t had since we were kids; Salsify (oyster plant) was feature along with carrots and sweet potatoes! What a memory it brought back with the slightly slippery mouth-feel and it’s nuttiness complimented with a bit of truffle oil – delightful!
Creatively crafted, local, seasonal food make this restaurant great but what makes it stellar is the staff. Every member of the waitstaff is knowledgeable about the menu. If they ever have a doubt if something is vegan or not, they have no qualms about checking with the kitchen and don’t make you feel like it was an imposition to ask. When your meal is served, they describe what you are about to enjoy in a way you are grateful for. It is like being given a map to an amazing land and you are encouraged to enjoy the journey at your own pace.
Wine pairings are not in print with menu selections but the wait staff can give suggestions if asked. Better yet, talk to the staff at the Seven Mountain Wine Cellars wine bar and get a few tastings. They are experts in all of the wines as well as knowledgeable of the current food menu and will be eager to make suggestions for pairings. There are also non-alcoholic beverage choices or bring your own beer/cocktails (no outside wine).
The interior of the Revival Kitchen is welcoming and its location on Main Street in Reedsville is crucial. It is the lovely young plant that is lucky enough to get a toehold in the sunlight that opened up when the Black Horse Tavern burned down in 2011. How Main Street Reedsville is changing is like polishing off a tarnished kettle you had forgotten about. It is just as charming as it was on the shelf but remembering it useful for making a hot cup of tea is a mindful reconnecting of what is right in front of you.