Story & photos by Patrick Alexander
Oregon Coast TODAY
Here on the Oregon Coast, the onset of the cold season can be felt in the air, smelt on the breeze and — most distinctly of all — tasted on the menu at Hearth & Table.
It’s around this time of year that co-owners Danelle Lochrie and Ethan Granberg are to be found loading an entire palette of squash on to their pickup truck, with plans for putting the fall bounty to use in everything from soups to baked goods.
“In the summer, things are fresh, so we say ‘let’s take these fresh things and put them together; that’s easy and pretty and perfect.’” Ethan said. “In the wintertime — you kind of let the seasons tell you what to do. More slow cooking, more root vegetables, more time, more prep and you end up with heartier dishes.”
After a hectic summer, the couple finally have time for some of the more labor-intensive tasks that come with running a restaurant where almost everything is made from scratch, Among those tasks, rolling out pasta for dishes like Ethan’s Pacific Northwest Ramen.
“It’s not what you would consider a traditional ramen,” he said. “It’s not my job to try to take over people’s culture and half-ass what they do.”
The dish combines chicken with smoked pork skin for the broth along with local vegetables and dried mushrooms garnished with thinly sliced root vegetables and herbs.
“It’s like you are drinking a bowl of the flavor of the area,” Ethan said.
Elsewhere on the menu, the couple are putting other locally sourced winter ingredients to work, from the exotic, such as quince, to more everyday offerings like apples, potatoes and carrots.
“Most people assume a carrot is something you buy at the grocery store,” Ethan said, “but knowing that I have a local source for carrots is exciting to me as a chef.”
With the restaurant now in its third year, Ethan and Danelle feel they have found their niche, with a loyal following of locals to supplement the summer rush.
“It’s a little easier for us because we’ve been able to figure out menu items that people like more,” Danelle said. “We still change our menu almost every day. As soon as we run out of something we replace it with something else.”
While the menu is small, the couple try to make sure there are vegetarian and even vegan options thrown into the mix. The extensive pizza menu offers lots of vegetarian toppings and, thanks to a cold-fermented crust made with just water, flour and salt, vegans can also enjoy a pie by just asking the chef to hold the cheese.
Nothing goes with pizza quite like beer, and the restaurant offers a revolving selection of brews ranging from accessible crowd-pleasers to something a little different.
“We are definitely seeing some trends in the broader brewing industry,” Ethan said, “Sour ales are growing in popularity. A new trend in IPAs which will throw a lot of the Pacific Northwest for a loop is the Northeast IPA; it’s juicy, cloudy, hop-forward but creamy.”
Meanwhile, Danelle is baking up a storm in preparation for the holidays, producing batch after batch of the scones, bread rolls and other treats that longtime customers remember from the couple’s days at the Rockfish Bakery. Do not be surprised to find squash playing a starring role in your winter scone.
Whether its rolling out handmade pasta or lovingly crafting pumpkin bread, Ethan and Danelle agree that winter is their favorite time of the year.
“We are very thankful that our clientele helps us to be profitable throughout the year because of return custom,” Ethan said. “It’s a time for us to relax and to do the things that we want to do with food.”
Hearth & Table is located at 660 SE Hwy. 101, across from City Hall. It is open from 11 am to 8 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Call them at 541-614-0966 or go to www.hearthandtablekitchen.com.
When not serving up locally sourced food at Hearth & Table, Danelle and Ethan are most likely to be found doing exactly the same thing at St. James Santiago as part of the church’s meal program.
The service, which is open to all, offers a free hot meal on Monday and Thursday evenings, as well as breakfast on Saturday.
“It’s something I wish more people knew about — a service that is fantastic,” Danelle said. “I think it’s important for everyone to have food and it’s something that I think whenever you are in hard times, it’s something that can get overlooked.”
The couple bring in all their own ingredients, with Danelle saying that local farmers are always happy to donate extra food for the program.
“We like the meals to be hearty so people don’t leave hungry,” she said. “And as many vegetables as I can sneak in there.”
For more details on the meal program, call St. James Santiago at 541-994-2426.