Gather takes farm connection seriously

Many restaurants in the area tout their connections to local farmers, but Gather in Lincoln Square takes the farm connection very seriously, featuring a daily dish plus a monthly dinner, spotlighting one or two farms in particular.

July 20, 2013 8:40:03 PM PDT
Fresh Spring peas, as green as grass, are just one of many seasonal highlights in the kitchen at Gather, a Lincoln Square neighborhood restaurant where the menu will morph, depending on the week of the year. So while this vibrant pea soup, enveloping mint, crème fraiche and pickled shallots, crowned with small discs of cooked shrimp might look great now, it may not be on the menu for very long.

"Essentially, a farm will show up with a box of goods that were picked that day and essentially says 'have at it,'" said owner David Breo. "We really believe that people should understand there are people behind the farm and the food, and we want to try to introduce as much as we can who those people are where those places are that are producing the food."

Sure, farm names are dropped, but not as often as you'd think, considering the tart cherries cozied up next to a grilled pork belly.. Or even the pickled Japanese turnips, sliced thin and tossed along with earthy maitake mushrooms and homemade tagliatelle made from buckwheat and whole wheat. In the bowl, smoked yogurt and turnip sauce serves as a tart anchor for the pasta, which is eventually garnished with even more buckwheat kernels; the dish is a study in locavore committment.

"We don't so much feel the need to list every farm of every ingredient where it comes from but we do have very strong partnerships," Breo said. "And we hope to bring them into our restaurant so that people can get to meet them."

Even though Gather works with a lot of different farmers throughout the course of the year, every month, they focus on just one farm; that culminates in a big tasting menu for one night only, where every course features that farm.

4539 N. Lincoln Ave.

Next farm dinner is July 24th, featuring Klug Farms from St. Joseph, MI