South Mountain Creamery opened Hometown Harvest Kitchen in downtown Frederick in May. Creamery and restaurant owner Tony Brusco and restaurant general manager Jake Cline recently spoke with The News-Post about what customers can experience in the restaurant.
The restaurant is under the umbrella of South Mountain Creamery. What made you want to expand into a farm-to-fork eatery?
Brusco: South Mountain Creamery has grown over the last 18, 19 years since we’ve been in business. Our home delivery service currently includes everything from glass bottle milk to meats, breads, eggs and produce. So the farm-to-fork restaurant is an extension of that. It allows us to fill that marketplace with local food and have one more outlet for us to share that local food experience. We were interested in expanding into downtown Frederick with an ice cream store, and the restaurant location really worked to where we were hoping to be.
How many flavors of ice cream do you have on-site, and what are some of the popular flavors?
Cline: We have 22 different flavors on-site. One of the most popular ones, possibly because of the name and also because it’s delicious, is the snallygaster, which is peanut butter ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels, mini Reese’s cups and caramel swirl. That just flies out of our case.
One of the summer flavors is red, white and blueberry, which has been picking up and been really popular. Sea-salted caramel is another one that’s really popular.
What are some popular items on the menu?
Cline: Our menu does rotate pretty regularly as far as some of the options. Some of the favorites have been our meatloaf, and our mac and cheese has been a huge hit. We also do an herb-roasted chicken, where we brine the chicken so it’s flavorful and juicy.
Will the items on the menu change seasonally?
Cline: We do have a consistent menu as far as options go. You can always get a chicken, beef, pork, fish and a vegetarian option as your entree and then we have around six or seven sides, including a couple of fresh salads. We do update our menu pretty regularly. I’d say every two weeks or so you may see different options.
Describe the restaurant atmosphere.
Brusco: We’re trying to provide a fast, casual local food option, something that’s never been done in Frederick before. You can come in and get chef-prepared, very good-quality food that’s locally produced in a relatively quick way. So you can easily come in for lunch and get your food, sit and eat and then be on your way in 20 to 30 minutes. For dinner you can get the same quality dishes that you can get at any other restaurant downtown, but you can do it in a very casual environment. In the evening a lot of times you’ll see people hanging out, talking among different tables that you rarely see at restaurants. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere. Pretty soon we’re going to be adding game nights and trivia nights. It’s kind of like your family table: You’re sitting down at the family table, and after a meal you’re hanging out and socializing. That’s the best way to describe it.
Do you hold game nights and trivia nights already or is that something in the future?
Cline: Right now we have game nights every other Thursday, but we’re going to try and make that a weekly thing. We have a bunch of different board games and card games here all the time. We encourage guests if you’re hanging out whether it’s after dinner or just grabbing some ice cream to have a great time. We will be starting trivia on July 16. That’ll be every Tuesday, registration will start at 6:30 p.m. and it goes until 9.
You also offer a meal delivery service as well?
Brusco: A couple years ago South Mountain Creamery started offering prepared meals. It was originally focused on just salads and soups. Over the years we’ve added grain bowls and some other features. As we launched the restaurant, part of what we’re doing is expanding the kitchen so we can expand what we offer through our home delivery service. In doing that, we’ve had some gyms approach us about having very nutrient-focused meals. We just partnered with our very first gym and we’d like to see that opportunity expand and partner with other gyms.
You can set up an account in delivery areas as far as Baltimore, D.C. and northern Virginia. It’s pretty expansive. That can be delivered anywhere you can get South Mountain Creamery milk delivered.
Cline: We are setting up online ordering so soon a customer can order online to speed up pickup at the restaurant. We should be rolling that out within the next few weeks.