Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer of Salt…10 Reasons to Visit Salt of the Earth in Fennville this Summer

Since opening in August 2009, Salt of the Earth (SotE) in downtown Fennville has become one of Michigan’s most popular farm-to-table eateries – serving up the finest locally-focused cuisine paired with regional craft beverages.

Under the direction of Executive Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon), Salt of the Earth – a rustic American eatery and bakery – is located the heart of southwest Michigan farm and orchard country. A meal at the restaurant is an authentic dining experience, built from a foundation of fresh high quality seasonal ingredients from growers within a 50 radius of Allegan County. The staff specializes in from-scratch techniques to create dinner entrees, wood oven fired pizzas, creative soups, fresh salads, desserts and artisan breads.

“There’s a growing interest in the farm-to-table concept,” says Pietsch, who takes pride in the number of regional growers and producers who provide him with the freshest ingredients. “More and more guests are seeking to dine and drink local product, even going as far to choose these types of restaurants over others. That just reinforces our philosophy here at Salt of the Earth.”

A full-service bar proudly serves Michigan craft beers, hard ciders, spirits, and wines alongside other domestic and international products. Salt of the Earth is also a popular entertainment destination presenting the finest roots musicians on the scene at weekly house concerts.

Why should you add Salt of the Earth to your summer travel plans? Here are 10 reasons which are meant to entice you to explore (or revisit) this quaint foodie hotspot:

1. Chef’s Garden: Now in its second year, this 40x40 garden sits adjacent to the restaurant and is growing with heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs and other vegetables. During the summer, these edibles will find their way into the SotE kitchen and onto the menu for guests to savor.

2. Pork! Enough said? SotE isn’t shy about its love of pigs. Sourced from Creswick Farms in Ravena, the culinary team proudly prepares the tastiest crispy confit pork belly, whole hog wood fired pizza and cider braised pork shoulder. Pork even finds its way into the SotE house bacon bread and the bacon vinaigrette on the fried brussel sprouts, as well as being an add on option for the farmer’s greens salad and the local pasture-raised grassfed beef burger.

3. Michigan Beverages: Featuring one of the region’s most impressive selections of Michigan craft beer, cider, wine and spirits – as well as signature cocktails blended with locally-grown herbs. Settle in with a Grilled Lemonade, Fenn’s Mill Fizz or Freshwater Sour and enjoy! Not sure what to order to pair with your meal? Just ask the knowledgeable bar staff for their recommendations – they won’t steer you wrong!

4. Seedy Salty Bread: All dinner guests are treated fresh baked bread at the onset of the meal – and the signature “flavor” is the SotE Seedy bread. Made in the wood fired oven, this mild sourdough is flavored with a blend of aromatic seeds – poppy, flax, sesame, onion and fennel, and topped with grey sea salt. Other popular breads include herbs & salt, rustic country French bread and roasted garlic potato. There’s even a gluten free bread option. Whole loaves are also available for purchase, while supplies last.

5. Fresh Board: The weekly features of specials – from soups and salads, shared plates, entrees and desserts – based on what is available fresh and local at the time. This menu is posted weekly on SotE’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/saltoftheearthfennville.

6. Palazzolo’s Gelato & Sorbet: Why not give the confit chicken wings with a scoop of mango habanero sorbet a try – a similar pairing was featured in 2011 on the Food Network’s show “Outrageous Foods”. Other unique sweet-n-spicy flavors include raspberry ghostpepper, pineapple sriracha and candied peppers. More traditional flavors like Tahitian vanilla, peanut butter honey, Nutella and milk chocolate can be served up in a bowl, in a milkshake or on a banana split. A scoop along with the house-made doughnuts would probably satisfy as well! (Note, flavors of gelato change regularly based on availability and seasonality).

7. Wood Fire Toasted S’more: Big enough for two (or more), featuring homemade marshmallow, graham cracker crumb, milk chocolate pudding and salted caramel.

8. Local Farms: More than a dozen local farms contribute to SotE’s farm-to-table menu – and it’s not uncommon to bump into these growers who are there to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables, cheeses and meats) of their labor! To find out which farms are currently sourcing, visit www.realtimefarms.com and search for Salt of the Earth.

9. Live Music: Noted as one of the top venues for local and regional artists, the intimate stage area provides a variety of entertainment on Tuesday and select Sunday evenings. The Summer Music Series runs Tuesday evenings (8-11pm). Upcoming performers include Billy Strings and Don Julin (July 2), Mulebone (July 16), Fauxgrass (July 30), George Cole and Eurocana (Aug. 13), Moxie Strings (Aug. 20) and Schrock Bros (Aug. 27).

10. Outdoor Seating: Dining al fresco is the perfect way to end a summer evening in west Michigan. Intimate seating for 2 or 4 is offered, weather permitting – with full menu service and loads of fresh air!

Salt of the Earth is open year-round, currently seven days a week: 5-10pm, Sunday through Thursday and 5-11pm on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is just 10 miles from Saugatuck, 50 miles from Grand Rapids and 140 miles from Chicago.

Salt of the Earth
114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408
269-561-SALT (7258)

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