Best New Restaurant
Opened in May 2013, The Local took the movement to support local farmers and fishermen to the ultimate degree. When you call your restaurant The Local (239-596-3276), you make a commitment and statement. Owner-Chef Jeff Mitchell (right) stands by the name and fresh-to-fork crusade. Mitchell grew up learning the secrets to homemade pasta and Italian dishes at his grandparents’ Detroit restaurant. Later he mastered the art of cooking fresh-from-the-field and the basics of classic French cuisine. Thus armed, he headed to the Culinary Institute of America and the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program. While working at a farm-to-table establishment in Wisconsin, his interest grew in creating new dishes from whatever came in fresh that day. It eventually resulted in The Local, an off-mainstream storefront with a bright and modern stone-accented dining room.
Most of the restaurant’s dishes use organic product and Chef Mitchell orchestrates a seasonally changing menu that satisfies vegetarians, health-conscious diners, gluten-free dieters and comfort foodies alike. He sources artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef and healthful ingredients. The kitchen cures its own olives, makes some of its own cheeses, and pickles its own vegetables.
Pine Island clams steamed with coconut and red curry at The Local
Lunch and dinner menus headline hearty salads, such as the signature organic kale Caesar with low-fat dressing; and spelt with tomatoes, zucchini, pine nuts and feta. A standout pasta dish is the hearty pork ragù with house-made gnocchi and ricotta. Healthy diners go for the pan-seared local snapper with lemon; comfort-food fans for the Pot Roast with Grannie’s Veggies. Dessert specials change almost daily, and always include a vegan and gluten-free selection. “Shot-glass” desserts allow you to taste without guilt in flavors such as Key lime panna cotta. For more serious sweet-tooth types, there’s a daily cake and wildly popular chocolate chip cookies.
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