The Rising Popularity of Combination Restaurant/Farmers' Markets in Westchester
Combination restaurant/farmers’ market/prepared food shops
Here is a fact that has not escaped savvy restaurateurs: Westchester residents are increasingly interested in eating from the farms that lie within and around our borders. But, though most of us live within an easy drive of a weekly farmers’ market, let’s face it—we’re set in our habits. Unlike those market-dependent French and Italians, we like the convenience of 24/7 shopping.
Cue the new breed of combination restaurant/farmers’ markets that are popping up around the county to offer the promise of a restaurant meal along with daily, locally raised food shopping. Not only do these hybrids offer residents the ability to purchase locally raised ingredients during less-restrictive hours, but—for restaurant owners—attached markets offer an additional sales outlet for perishable ingredients. The operation of an attached market incurs low additional overhead while also extracting ultimate value from big-ticket expenses like rent, heat, and restaurant kitchen staff. The last, with an attached market, can be employed to prepare food for refrigerator cases.
Of course, this idea is not new. Westchester has long held seafood restaurants that double as fish markets. Look for more hybrid restaurant/markets to open this fall.
Table Local Market photo courtesy of Table Local Market/Cynthia Brennan
Though this Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten/Martha Stewart-endorsed favorite closes at 6 pm, Table Local Market (photo) in Bedford Hills offers breakfasts and lunches prepared under the guidance of Chef Jon Pratt of Peter Pratt’s Inn. Shoppers can browse in the market among the locally produced cheeses, dairy, meats, fruits, and vegetables, and then sit at one of Local’s tables to eat those excellent ingredients spun into meals. Look for prepared foods for take home and catering, too.
Owned by the team behind landmark Crabtree’s Kittle House, RiverMarket Kitchen and Bar is slated to open this fall in Tarrytown’s Hudson Harbor development. The complex will include a restaurant and bar, a daily Hudson Valley-sourced farmers’ market (with prepared foods), and RiverMarket Wine and Spirits: a retail store specializing in organic, local, sustainable, and biodynamic wines and liquors.
Since debuting this past spring, North Salem’s Farmer & the Fish has planted an adjacent, one-and-a-half-acre field in which it raises up to 80 percent of the produce served in its dining room. Just licensed at the time of writing (but already under construction), Farmer & the Fish will open an attached market this fall to offer its homegrown produce for retail sale. In addition, the market will offer fresh seafood, locally raised beef, and prepared items including cook-at-home crab cakes, jarred tomatoes, and pickles.
Though not yet green-lighted by the City of New Rochelle, there is a proposal currently being discussed that would turn an abandoned, circa 1931 naval armory (that backs onto the LI Sound’s Echo Bay) into a multi-dimensional food outlet and public, waterfront park. Offering two restaurants helmed by Chef Jeremiah Tower—a Chez Panisse alum and winner of 1996’s James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef award—the proposal includes food stalls for local farmers and, on the basement level, a local food depot with cold storage and a loading dock. This underground hub is intended to make the dissemination of locally raised foods easier on small farmers, who, currently, lacking lower Westchester storage facilities, must truck their goods back and forth to their farms.