You can find Eastern Meadowlarks in Pennsylvania farm fields and grasslands. But the Kansas state bird, the Western Meadowlark, is the inspiration for the name of New Hope’s newest contemporary American restaurant.
The brother-sister team of chef Rodger Marsh and his sister Kate Short gave a nod to their home state of Kansas by naming their seasonally-inspired Meadowlark Restaurant after the state bird. The partners quietly opened their restaurant in July at the former location of El Taco Loco.
Short has transformed the eatery with her contemporary, casual chic décor that includes tables handmade by her husband, furniture maker David Short of Edgewood Made in Lambertville, N.J.
The partners deliberately chose a small space for their restaurant. “I like having a place that is small enough that I can have my hands in everything,” said Marsh, who trained at Cordon Bleu in San Francisco.
Marsh has crafted a menu that is short but complete, with flexibility that allows him to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables.
The appetizer menu ranges from seasonal soups and salads to house-cured cuck carpaccio, diver scallops and grilled octopus.
Entrees focus on local produce and sustainable seafood, poultry and grass-fed meats. Those include roasted chicken with homemade ricotta and spinach, Georges Bank sole with lentils and local vegetables, lamb chops, a steak du jour and a pasta of the day such as the recent quail tagliatelle. Vegetarians can opt for Marsh’s layered local vegetables, which during the autumn months may include Portobello mushrooms, squash, roasted tomato and garlic, burrata and a balsamic reduction.
Marsh and his staff make everything they serve from scratch and they butcher they own meats.
Marsh said he believes in allowing high-quality ingredients to shine in his cooking, so he doesn’t make heavy sauces that cover up the flavors. “The proteins I am sourcing might be finished with an au jus or an olive oil fusion,” he said, which enhance the flavors.
The culinary staff makes a short but sweet array of desserts in-house; recently that included panna cotta with berries, chocolate mousse and berry shortcake.
Short was the first of the pair to come to the area, and quickly fell in love with the river towns. “I love New Hope and I love this area with the laid-back river town lifestyle and the many local farms,” she said.
Naming their restaurant for their home state’s bird was a way of adding a touch of home. Also, according to folklore, hearing a meadowlark’s song brings good news of abundance for an impending harvest.
Locals quickly found the Meadowlark and are returning, helping to ensure this small but standout restaurant will soon become a dining destination for those in search of casual but upscale dining.
The Meadowlark currently serves dinner only and is closed Tuesdays. Look for the possible addition of lunch in the future.