As the seasons change, so does Alter House’s menu.
The farm-to-table restaurant that opened in April 2018 at 926 Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit, uses locally sourced ingredients that executive chef Joe Markovich transforms into dishes highlighting what’s available in the region. This summer, guests could enjoy these homegrown meals on Alter House’s outdoor patio or take advantage of curbside pickup and takeout.
Chef’s Table chatted with Elisha Nolan, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Patrick.
Q: What type of food do you serve?
A: We are a farm-to-table restaurant with the majority of our menu being prepared on an open-flame, wood-fire grill. In addition to assuring our food is free of pesticides, herbicides and is non-GMO, roughly 75% of the menu is gluten-free or can easily be modified to be. We take great pride in working with many local farms and purveyors. Our farmers harvest our produce the day of or the day before it hits the Alter House kitchen. This ensures we are getting not only the freshest product but the best tasting as well. When we take the time to visit and learn the names of the farmers and their teams who grow the amazing products we buy, we can share their stories with our guests.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: Our entire journey has quite a personal explanation behind it. Although we haven’t been overly public about it, we have no problem sharing when asked, hoping others can benefit as well. We found that a gluten-free, organic, grass-fed and antibiotic-free diet was the catalyst for improvement in the life of our son, who was born on the spectrum. We are proud to say that with early intervention and hard work, he is doing amazingly well.
Q: What are your most popular dishes?
A: That’s a tough one. Alter House Executive Chef Joe Markovich changes our menu at least six times per year to coordinate with the growing seasons of Northeast Pennsylvania. That being said, we never seem to be able to take our Prime Pork Chop (currently served with a Local Peach Panzanella Salad) off the menu. It’s a guest favorite. The flavors that come from cooking with our Aztec wood-fire grill are just amazing. Also, you can’t beat any of our farm-fresh salads. Every night, we hear how it tastes like it was just picked from the field. At the bar, new specialty cocktails also are created with the change of the seasons to use the available fresh fruits and herbs. Some guest favorites previously made at the bar include our Farm-to-Bar Spritzers, Strawberry Gin Fizz and a Ginger Peach Bourbon Smash, all created with house-made simple syrups. We are also proud of our expansive Bourbon/whisky collection and notable wine list. Our sommelier, Jessica McCusker, is always close by to answer any questions and make menu pairing suggestions.
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: Alter House typically offers dining and private dining room seating, bar area and bar seating, and outdoor dining. Currently, we are only occupying our patio area for service and concentrating on intimate private events inside to maintain the safest environment for our staff and guests.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We do. Whether it would be a special dinner for two or a small gala, our team would make sure any event was memorable. Our main space is a perfect setting for private dining events that range from 12 to 70 people. Depending on the size of the event, the restaurant space can be divided to accommodate large-party dinners. Private dining menus can be customized by our talented culinary team from seasonally inspired offerings. Our private dining room located adjacent to the Alter House restaurant is ideal for evening or daytime business meetings, bereavements, corporate dinners, social celebrations and cocktail receptions. Our private dining room accommodates 12 to 40 people comfortably. Unfortunately, current restrictions hold us at a 25-person limit for private gatherings. Many are opting for catering options to accommodate larger parties. A sample catering menu can be found on our website, summitalterhouse.com.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: Honestly, we can’t wait for it to simply go back to where we were before the pandemic. We’ve had to “Alter” and pivot in so many directions that are unconventional to an upscale restaurant. It’s a difficult time to think too far in the future with constant mandate changes and so much uncertainty. Right now, we are all simply taking it one day at a time and doing our best to stay positive.
Q: Are you offering takeout, curbside pickup or delivery?
A: Alter House currently offers takeout and curbside pickup. We actually have a very user-friendly online ordering system that can be accessed through our website.
Alter House Restaurant & Bar
- Address: 926 Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit
- Phone: 570-319-6665
- Established: April 2018
- Owners: Patrick and Elisha Nolan
- Cuisine: Farm-to-table/American
- Hours: Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 4 to 9 p.m. (bar closes at 10 p.m.)
- Online: summitalterhouse.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz