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DanRine

Rural restaurants

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I'm trying to compile a list of restaurants that exist in rural and remote areas but execute a high level of cooking.  A few examples I'm familiar with would be Hartwood in the jungles of Tulum, Mexico, or The Lost Kitchen in inland Maine.  On a larger scale, I know of Blackberry Farm TN and Twin Farms VT.  Anyone else know of any restaurants like these?  Ever been to/worked in any of them? And how do you think the challenges of attracting customers to these remote areas compare to the challenges of restaurants in major cities having to keep up with a competitive restaurant scene?

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Of course there is The Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, NC, population 21,677 at 2010 US census. With Yelp reviews. Doe's Eat Place, in Greenville, MS, population 34,400 at 2010 census (and elsewhere). With more Yelp reviews. The Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Maryland, for the famed blue crabs, with more Yelps. The Hurlock population was only 2,092 in the 2010 census. There's the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, GA, pop. 4,296 in 2013. With some reviews.

 

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and I'd love to hear about others' experiences and input on this subject.

 

I participated in this topic from Roadfood.com on "Surviving Duncan Hines Restaurants". There is some good info to be found there, but many of the restos are closed, converted to hotels, or grown up around with development. Hope this helps in your quest for info, and I will be very much looking forward to others takes on this subject.


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Well, what immediately spring to my mind are

 

a) The Peat Inn in Scotland.

 

b) The Albannach, also in Scotland 

 

c) and the well-known, but visited only by the determined, The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

All serve excellent food and offer accommodation, making them destinations in themselves. People may find this article on remote restaurants in the UK of interest. 

 

Here in China, I have a few rural favourites, too. I spend a lot of time in the Chinese countryside.

d) My favourite Sichuan restaurant is in the middle of nowhere. No accommodation. Here  is my translation of their menu - Word Doc or PDF..

 

e) A Dong ethnic minority restaurant in a tiny village in northern Guangxi. No menu - you get what the owners are eating that night. With accommodation. I'd give you the address if they knew where they were. If you really want to find the place, send me a PM and I'll send detailed directions, latitude and longitude etc!


Edited by liuzhou corrected link (log)
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Please consider that accessibility comes into play, not just population. I used to joke with reporters that I was probably the most remote James Beard nominee in history requiring a minimum of a 3 hour drive. My town was under 10,000 btw.

 

I think about Blaine Wetzl's restaurant which should be considered for the list.

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I'm not sure what your definition of rural is, but Burlington is a fairly big town for Vermont. Waterbury is smaller so it may fit "rural" better. The Hen of the Wood is a place we always to to make it to when we are in the area - usually the Waterbury location.


Edited by dans (log)

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Arkansas is full of these. Of course, to be "rural" in Arkansas, you have to be REALLY rural, as the entire state has a population of less than 3 million. Here are a few:

 

  • The Tamale Factory, Gregory, Arkansas (north central Arkansas Delta, on the White River), Gregory isn't even incorporated; it's a community of less than 100. The Tamale Factory boasts outstanding steaks (they dry-age on site, from local farm-raised beef); White River catfish, and of course, the ubiquitous tamales.
  • Jones' BarBQ Diner, Marianna, Arkansas. Winner of a James Beard American Classic award. Pulled pork barbecue sandwiches on white loaf bread; your only choice is slaw or no slaw (get the slaw!) on the sandwich. You get your chips from a rack, your soft drink from a cooler.
  • Oark General Store, in Oark, which I have always thought probably was originally supposed to be named Ozark, north central Arkansas in the mountains of the same name. Farm-to-table destination cuisine.

 

And one in Tennessee, for good measure: Hagy's Catfish Hotel in Counce, on the banks of the Tennessee River just north of Shiloh National Military Park. The absolute best catfish I have ever eaten, anywhere, and some pretty excellent lemon icebox pie. They make a cole slaw with a homemade French dressing that you mix up at the table. Sounds awful, but good. Oh, and Big Band music on the jukebox.

 

 

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On 2/24/2017 at 5:09 AM, gfron1 said:

Please consider that accessibility comes into play, not just population. I used to joke with reporters that I was probably the most remote James Beard nominee in history requiring a minimum of a 3 hour drive. My town was under 10,000 btw.

 

I think about Blaine Wetzl's restaurant which should be considered for the list.

 

The Willows Inn is definitely the type of restaurant I had in mind when thinking about this subject.  I like how a lot of these restaurants are partially supplied by their own gardens and by foraged ingredients from the land around them... makes for a more interesting set of product to work with. And outdoor cooking techniques like open pit smoking and sun drying- usually impossible for restaurants in major cities- is completely accessible in these settings.

 

I worked last year in a small island town called Stonington, Maine-- a tiny, hard-to-get-to island on the coast of Maine.  I got to work with some of the best seafood and produce that I've ever cooked with.  Because of the remote location and the brutally cold winters though, 90% of the restaurants' business seems to happen in two months of the year (July and August).  It can be tough to achieve the level of cooking and service that you're hoping for when the staff isn't used to that volume and then is suddenly slammed for two months straight.

 

 

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Etxebarri comes to mind. And El Bulli before it closed.

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Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder Ut. They are James Beard semi-finalists again. Town has population of about 300. Excellent food, mostly grown on their own acreage.


Ruth Kendrick

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The Mulefoot Gastropub in Imlay City, MI (pop. ~3,600), 42 miles due north of Detroit's (in)famous 8 Mile Road.

 

Quote

We believe that food should be local and prepared with passion. The Mulefoot Gastropub is a farm-to-table concept utilizing most of its products from local farmers. We are located in Imlay City in the heart of Lapeer County, which is one of the most diverse agricultural counties in Michigan.

 

The Mulefoot’s namesake is a special heritage hog served at the restaurant. Some of the free-range pork is raised on our local family farm, eight miles from the restaurant. We strive to bring new and inventive flavors in a comfortable setting. This is a pub. We are not fine dining. Everything we do is hand-crafted, from your first course to our craft beverages. We invite you to come experience a true farm-to-table experience in the community in which your farm products are grown.

 


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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