Saltbox Kitchen debuts this week, representing the ultimate farm-to-table endeavor for chef/farmer Ben Elliott. As anticipated, Thursday, July 9 is opening day.
The small cafe is the third culinary venture for Saltbox Farm, a 10-acre working farm in West Concord. Elliott, a Boston restaurant industry alum (Locke-Ober, No. 9 Park), purchased the farm from his grandparents in the mid-2000s to revitalize it, and also to refocus on his family life.
"The plan was to spend more time with my family and challenge myself with making Saltbox Farm a success," he said in a release.
In addition to the crops and livestock Elliott raises on the property, he established a CSA program and also The Little House, a farm-based cooking school led by Aran Goldstein (Clink), who will also be Saltbox Kitchen's chef. These culinary efforts support the farming enterprise and allow it to operate with less risk — the press release calls it a "modern approach to the farm-to-table philosophy."
Saltbox Kitchen is an opportunity for the chef/farmer to "return to my restaurant roots, showcase dishes inspired by Saltbox Farm and keep my promise to maintain a balanced life for myself and my team."
The 15-seat Saltbox Kitchen will offer cafe service six days a week, along with a selection of prepared foods made from the farm's resources. The cafe menu will change seasonally based on available produce, and it will also feature honey from Saltbox Farm's bees, eggs from its hens, and meat from its sheep.
An earlier Boston Magazine article noted that farm and operations manager Ralph Fiegel (also a No. 9 Park veteran) will brew house beers with four different types of hops growing on site; the opening list does not include these brews. It features half a dozen New England beers and one New Hampshire cider, as well as a host of biodynamic wines.
Breakfast items include Julia Child's Six-Minute Egg with farmer's cheese and baby greens on dark bread; Irish oats with walnuts, dried fruit, and Vermont maple; and a sour cream biscuit, bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich with roasted kale. For lunch and early supper, there will be frisee and radicchio salad with a warm hazelnut and porcini vinaigrette; pan-seared Gloucester scallops with green apple, savoy cabbage, riesling, and juniper; and more.
Saltbox Kitchen is located about four miles from the farm, at 84 Commonwealth Ave. in West Concord Village. The street is a new destination for farm-to-table cuisine; Woods Hill Table opened at No. 24 in March.
Saltbox Kitchen will be open Monday - Saturday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.