We’ve heard the term “farm to table” a million times at this point but what does it really mean and why is it important?
According to Tavern64 Regional Kitchen in Reston Town Center it means sourcing food directly from farmers and producers themselves and not using large distributers. Tavern64 goes one step further and focuses on building and maintaining relationships with local producers and growers. This is significant because sourcing locally stimulates the area’s economy, protects nearby farmland and supports small businesses.
When discussing both the restaurant and cooking at home, Executive Chef Sean Glover stresses the importance of attending farmers markets and speaking with each vendor, “That individual worked hard to bring those great products to you.”
Tavern64 not only talks-the-talk, it also walks-the-walk. Roughly 85% of their menu is from neighboring farmers and producers such as Lothar’s Sausages in Purcellville, VA, Bay Haven Farm in Roundhill, VA and Chapel’s Country Creamery in Easton, MD.
Because Reston is located between The North and The South, Sean is inspired by both cultures in his cuisine. Southern foods on the menu include grits and pork. Northern foods include oysters, clams and scallops. Surprisingly, Tavern64 doesn’t serve much crab because recently it’s been difficult to source locally AND reliably. A result of this dependency on food quality, availability and weather, is a menu that is flexible and creative.
Typically, Tavern64’s menu changes four times a year with their Fall menu debuting in mid-October. It will most likely include duck (Sean was excited to have found a local duck source), a lamb stew and possibly a beer and cheese soup (using local beer and cheese). Summer items like BBQ short ribs, beet caprese and salad with watermelon will be removed to make way for slow-cooked heartier foods.
Sean and General Manager Adrian Gutu are also especially proud of Tavern64’s bar. “We put a lot of passion into wine,” says Adrian. The staff travels and does tastings frequently to find great sources of local wines. “Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine in the US. Virginia’s climate and terrain is good for wine, especially Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Barboursville Vineyards has had great success with Italian grapes,” he says. Showing his excitement, Adrian tells us that Viognier was almost obsolete ten years ago but is back because Virginians made it available and popular again.
We definitely recommend trying one (or more!) of their specialty cocktails made with local spirits such as Catoctin Creek Rye, Bowman Brothers Bourbon and their Sunset Hills Gin (Bowman Brothers was formerly located off Sunset Hills Road here in Reston). Tavern64’s drink menu pays homage to classic prohibition-era cocktails with interesting back-stories. While DC and Alexandria have a new generation of speakeasies that have cropped up recently (such as PX), Tavern64 is the only one who has brought this trend to Reston.
Reston has a long tradition of fostering the idea of community among its residents. Tavern64 has taken this concept and made it a priority. “At the end of the day,” says Adrian, “it’s all about relationships.”
Breakfast: 6:30AM – 11AM
Lunch: 11:30AM – 3PM
Dinner: 5 PM – 11PM
SUNDAY & SATURDAY
Brunch: 11AM – 3PM
What other restaurants should we profile in Modern Reston? What makes them special?