Best of the Boat: Best Farm-to-Table Cuisine — Cloverdale Restaurant
November 14, 2017
Life while running a farm can hinge on any number of weather-related factors, and life running a restaurant supplied by a farm can be even more complicated.
That's among the lessons Patrick Ayres has learned in the first few months of Cloverdale Restaurant, the downtown establishment that's kept an intentionally low profile since its opening, and, also intentionally, been eating up rave reviews.
Cloverdale, which opened July 1, is inconspicuously located off Steamboat's main drags and most prominent restaurant clusters, on the corner of Ninth and Oak streets. The building — the house, that is — that it's located in spent most of its life as a residence. That, combined with an understated sign out front, almost makes it feel like Cloverdale is hiding.
"That's what we want it to be," Ayres says. "We don't want it to be something glaring, but something people learn about, that we're here. And that's worked."
It's worked well enough than in its short life the restaurant has already climbed near the top of the Steamboat dining world, high enough to earn the Best of the Boat designation among town's farm-to-table options.
Ayres, owner and chef, has spent much of his life working in kitchens, but Cloverdale is the first business he's owned himself. Among the complications, he says, is the farm-to-table schedule.
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Much of the restaurant's produce is brought in from Cloverdale Restaurant Farm, south of town on Colorado Highway 131. Ayres says the farm grows more than 200 varieties of veggies and fruits. Some grow better than others, and that yield has dictated some of what ends up on the menu. For instance, greens took off early this summer in a big way.
"So, we had lettuce sorbets, lettuce sops, meats wrapped in lettuce, lettuce every way possible," Ayres says.
More recently the summer squash has been coming up big.
Plenty is getting preserved for the looming winter months, but the abundance also pushes Ayres to dig deep and find ways to use his fresh produce creatively and deliciously in his restaurant.