Taste of Things to Come
Side Dishes: Putney to gain a community-supported restaurant
Goat-cheese-and-nettle croquettes with a rhubarb-balsamic sauce. Caramelized crêpes filled with strawberry, rhubarb and mint, then topped with a sweet balsamic glaze. Vietnamese-style summer rolls filled with chopped mint, rhubarb and chopped broccoli stems.
These are some of the dishes to which chef Ismail Samad has treated visitors to the Putney Farmers Market over the last few Sundays. First he gathers seasonal ingredients from the market’s farmers (hence the abundance of rhubarb), then prepares the dishes on the spot at his booth using a propane stove.
Each is a taste of things to come at the Gleanery, a restaurant-in-the-planning that Samad and two partners hope to open this fall using the community-supported-restaurant model.
“The tastings are a great way to interact with the community and give people an opportunity to try our food,” says Liz Ehrenberg, another partner and Putney native. (The third partner is Alice James). If people like what they taste, they can put their money where their mouth wants to be; Gleanery supporters can buy in at three levels and spend their shares monthly over the first three years of the restaurant’s life. “It’s very much a start-up membership model,” Ehrenberg notes, similar to the one harnessed by Claire’s Restaurant in Hardwick.
The vision for the Gleanery developed in step with the goals of Transition Putney 2.0, and a key element of the business model is the intense connections the restaurant will foster with local farmers. The eatery is likely to be BYOB, adds Ehrenberg, giving customers a chance to nip across the street to the Putney General Store to pick up featured bottles of wine or beer.
Though many particulars remain up in the air — the lease on the historic building at 133 Main Street has yet to be signed — Ehrenberg is thrilled that the trio is halfway to its goal of raising $60,000 after starting its drive a few weeks ago.
Sounds as though Putney is hungry for a new resto.