5 Year Anniversary

Thank you to everyone who has supported Elwood for these 5 years. Today is our 5 year anniversary!

We opened Elwood on May 1st 2019 and we have had many ups and downs since then, but we are still here following our vision.

I grew up hunting and fishing, and cause I liked to eat, I wanted to learn how to cook game by different methods. This led me to other cookbooks and I became enraptured with American Regional cooking. I was really interested in the foods of America’s subcultures and was watching cooking shows of Paul Prudohmme and Justin Wilson and reading James Beard in High School. I found Dr. William Woys Weaver’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking at a bookstore in the mall and was amazed at finding foods my family ate in there. We grew up with our comfort foods of pork and sauerkraut, pot pie, shoo fly cake, pickled beets, lebanon bologna and when they slaughtered hogs they made scrapple and Grammy Oley stuffed the pig’stomach.

So I decided to go to culinary school at Penn college and while there was introduced to the French Grande Dining tradition which, coincidentally, featured lots of game and sport fish. Along with the traditional style chefs pushing boundaries like Thomas Kellar, Michel Bras, Charlie Trotter, I also discovered chefs doing what I was really interested in, chefs doing what was called New American (not the same meaning now ) at that time along with the Farm to table movement. Besides chefs like Paul Prudhomme and Leah Chase doing New Orleans cookery, there was Jasper White and Lydia Shire showing off New England foodways, Norman Van Aiken down in Florida, out West was Mark Miller, California had Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, and of course Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower. Philly had Jack’s Firehouse and White Dog Cafe. And yes, there are more: Charlie Palmer, Frank Stitt,Tom Douglas, Jean Louis Palladin… (I never ate at these restaurants only read about them, and this is before the Internet was a regular thing so magazines and books)

But two restaurants that were my favorites and what I idolized were- An American Place in New York City by Larry Forgione and The Inn at Little Washington. Larry Forgione was showcasing regional foods from all over America at his restaurant in NYC.

The restaurant that really blew my mind was Patrick O’Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington. This was a restaurant still in the Grande Cuisine Fine Dining Tradition, but, it was noticably Southern, he wasn’t afraid to put Virginia ham on a course or blackberry vinegar. I thought that the restaurant looked amazing and it was an amazing concept. So I had a dream I would have a restaurant that featured Pennsylvanian or Mid-Atlantic foodways in an old school restaurant. Country style, Show and talk about PA Dutch foods, and to showcase scrapple. Explore Philly’s history with sturgeon, catfish and waffles, shad would be enjoyed every season, bring turtle soup back, and then eventually I had the idea to dine like when I would go to my great- grandmother’s or like one of my other inspirations I used to read about -Betty Groff and her dining on Groff Farm. A nice roast with mashed potatoes and vegetables, pickles and sauces, sitting around a table sharing a meal.

So to all the guests who have died with us and supported us — Thank you! And to our future guests- we will see you soon! May we have another 5 years!