at Heron Hill Winery on Keuka Lake is serious about good food: their mission is to use only the freshest, most locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. In fact, as Erin Rafalowski, Marketing and PR Manager explains: “Utilizing local produce was part of the original philosophy when the restaurant opened.” And with a kitchen that serves up everything from appetizers to flatbread pizza and fresh wrap sandwiches, there’s a lot of opportunity for a lot of local love.
The Blue Heron is welcoming a new Executive Chef this year, Finger Lakes native and resident Jeffory McLean, and he brings with him a fierce dedication to all things local. “Jeffory is really embracing the local and seasonal [theme] more than ever,” Rafalowski explains, pointing out his commitment to sourcing not just local produce, but proteins and dairy as well. The restaurant has established relationships with plenty of local farms, including Gottsland Farm in Branchport, who is providing duck for the Restaurant Week menu’s slow-roasted duck breast seasoned with springtime flavors garlic, chives and fennel.
Taking local to the next level in a whole new way, McLean is also continuing the restaurant’s tradition of growing their own herbs: parsley, chives, basil and thyme, to name a few.
One of the most exciting aspects of Restaurant Week at Blue Heron is that the restaurant, typically open only for lunch, will be serving dinner during the entire run, offering 3 different options for appetizers, entrees and desserts. “It’s a test-run for our brand-new dishes,” according to Rafalowski, who also hints that there may be pop-up style dinners again later in the season.
It’s all about the atmosphere at the Blue Heron, where diners can savor their meal on a terrace overlooking the lake. The Café often features live music, and works to make sure wine and food pairings are thoughtful and complementary.
Between its insistence on supporting farmers, using seasonal produce and mixing things up, it looks like The Blue Heron definitely knows how to keep it fresh.
Blue Heron Café - 800.441.4241
Rochelle is a food and wine writer with a focus on seasonal cooking and sustainable agriculture. She’s also a classically-trained chef who spent the last year working on a full-diet, draft-powered farm in Central New York. Visit her at rochellebilow.com, on Twitter at @RochelleBilow or on Instagram at RochelleBilow to learn more.