Native dishes out farm-fresh ingredients and a cool city vibe in small-town Northeast Pennsylvania.
The restaurant — located at 560 Main St., Suite B,
Honesdale — opened in November under husband-and-wife duo Alex and Caleb Johnson and prides itself on providing dishes that incorporate ingredients from area farms. Although the menu is limited at this time, customers looking for a healthy dish can pre-order online at the restaurant’s website, nativehonesdale.com.
Chef’s Table recently chatted with Alex Johnson about her and her husband’s culinary roots and their passion about supporting local agriculture.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: Native in ownership and ingredient. The name comes from the fact that I am a native of the Honedale area and Caleb has a passion for foraging and utilizing the local landscape as much as possible. We met in Philadelphia working for a restaurant group in Center City. Caleb was the chef de cuisine, and I was the front of house manager. We stuck around Philly for nearly eight years honing our craft before returning to the area to be closer to family and raise our children. Our dream was to open our own place in Honesdale, and after over a year and a half of planning and renovation, the dream has become a reality. We wanted to bring a cool city vibe and great food to this amazing little town we call home.
Q: What type of food do you serve? What’s your specialty?
A: We feature as many local farmers and producers as possible. Therefore, our menu is extremely fresh and entirely made from scratch. While our atmosphere is more casual, our menu features a more upscale genre. Most dishes are smaller plates meant for sharing, with a few large-plate “entree” options for those who want a more traditional meal. Dishes like Venison Osso Bucco, Rabbit Rillette, Duck Ragu over house-made tagliatelle pasta or a simple Shaved Root Salad are all things you can find on our menu. We hope to provide the community with something new every time they dine with us, and we encourage people to try something they’re never had before. Since the cornerstone of our menu focuses on supporting local agriculture, our menu is extremely seasonal and changes regularly.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: Our menu came from the way we love to eat; we love to share. Our menu is designed this way. We encourage guests to order a few things for the table, and the hope is that this might enable them to try something new that they’ve never had before. We do have those larger plates for people wanting a traditional entree. We also wanted to make sure we would be able to provide everyone and anyone with something delicious. Therefore, our menu features a lot of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Q: What are your most popular dishes and drinks?
A: Our most popular dishes include Housemade Ricotta Ravioli with butternut squash and sage, Roasted Mushroom Toast with thyme and Gorgonzola, Housemade Pork and Beef Meatballs with fermented pepper relish, and Whole-Roasted Trout with celery root and carrot. Our most popular drinks are Maple Old-Fashioned and the Asian Pear Ginger Haymaker (Asian pear, lemon, ginger syrup and vodka).
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: Native has four seating areas. We have a 10-seat bar and an eight-seat chef’s counter. The chef’s counter seating overlooks the open kitchen, so guests get to see the chef in action. We have 10 tables in the main dining area and five tables in the mezzanine area, which overlooks the entire restaurant. The atmosphere is casual, lively and hip.
Q: What kinds of entertainment and specials do you offer?
A: We offer Happy Hour specials Wednesday through Sunday until 6 p.m. at the bar and chef’s counter only. This special menu offers drink deals as well as special snack-sized menu items that are exclusive to Happy Hour and change weekly. We also usually feature special dishes and drinks that change weekly.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: At this time we do not offer catering, but we do offer the opportunity for a guest to buy out the restaurant if they would like to host a special private event. Pricing for events like these varies depending on day of the week and season. We have hosted birthday parties, work holiday parties and baby showers so far for buy-out events.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: We would love to expand our hours and be open for brunch on the weekends.
Q: Are you offering takeout, curbside pickup or delivery?
A: Due to COVID-19, we are offering takeout. Our menu items during this time are extremely limited and change weekly. We are trying our best to provide healthy meals that will travel well and go easy on our customers’ wallets. We understand this is a hard time for everyone, so we are doing what we can for our community. Customers can view our menu and order online via our website, nativehonesdale.com.
Address: 560 Main St., Suite B, Honesdale
Established: November 2019
Owners: Caleb and Alexandra Johnson
Cuisine: New American
Normal hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 4 to 8 p.m.
Current hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 7 p.m., pre-orders only (customers must place orders by noon on the day of pickup)
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz