Jun 25, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Brewster Inn on Ledyard Avenue is known for its elegant cuisine and farm-fresh menu items, but owner Richard Hubbard has been taking actions in recent months that he hopes will enhance his restaurant’s already impressive reputation. To do this, he has recently unveiled a brand new menu, one that includes 20 new items, offered in half-size as well as full-size portions, and all farm fresh from Cazenovia as well as from some of the highest quality farms and purveyors around the world.
“Farm-to-table is a very popular concept right now, and we’re trying to put our menu in that terminology. It’s all about sourcing. … I go to great lengths to source all the food that hits our tables,” Hubbard said. “It’s got to be the best, got to be fresh, from wherever that is — we go where the best is, although when we can we buy local.”
The new Brewster Inn concept of farm-to-table freshness from the greatest farms in the world, as well as from Caz, is something new. “It’s farm-to-table on steroids,” he said.
For example, the new seafood on the Brewster’s menu cannot be found in Cazenovia, so Hubbard buys where the best is found. For his Atlantic salmon, he has a picker in Gloucester, Mass., who obtains top quality salmon from the Georgia Banks and ships it to Cazenovia.
“We guarantee it’s out of the water no more than two days before you eat it,” Hubbard said. “Chain restaurants never buy fresh; it’s all frozen.”
Other new seafood items on the Brewster menu include top catch scrod — “we haven’t served scrod in 25 years; now it’s back” —Arctic Char from Iceland (the most northern sustainable fresh water fish) and Tuna from Hawaii.
Hubbard has added some new pasta dishes as well, and kept classic meat offerings on the menu, such as veal, rack of lamb and filet mignon, but in the month since the new menu hit his tables, the big hit has been the starter items — eight new appetizers and four new salads. The starter menu offers items from escargot to foie gras to deviled eggs, and salads such as red and golden beet salad and fresh kale.
“The salads are going like crazy and the appetizers are right on with young people, ordering a few and sharing,” Hubbard said.
Part of the idea behind the new Brewster Inn menu was, in fact, to reach out to a new generation of diners — to offer organic, gluten-free, farm-fresh items, at reasonable prices and in such a way as to encourage groups of young adults and young professionals to come, have some drinks and share some starters, Hubbard said.
“The idea of the new starters, in particular, is to make the menu more approachable,” said Caitlin Gambee, new marketing and public relations director for the Brewster Inn.
The Brewster’s new outreach to a younger generation also has included a revamped website and a new blog, the latter of which will be used to complement the new menu and “update and educate” patrons on how, what and why the restaurant offers what it does. “We want there to be a constant flow of information on this,” Gambee said.
Another aspect of the Brewster’s new information campaign includes descriptions and explanations on the menu not just of what is in each particular dish, but also where the ingredients came from, Hubbard said. The local and international farms are listed in the menu, but so are facts such as that the blue mussels are wild and not rope cultured, that the Chilean sea bass is “legally caught” and that the scrod is “never gill-netted.”
“People will read these and get confidence in the great food here,” Gambee said. “This will also generate conversations and make them read the menu.”
The reception to the Brewster Inn’s new menu since it debuted on May 23 has been “fabulous,” Hubbard said. Patrons are beginning to realize how fresh and often local his ingredients truly are, that everything on the menu is handmade in-house, that by eating there diners are supporting local agriculture and that dining at the Brewster Inn is “not as expensive as people think.”
For more information on The Brewster Inn and its new menu, go online to thebrewsterinn.com, facebook.com/TheBrewsterInn or thebrewsterinn.com/apps/blog.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.