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On the Menu: Restaurant Recognized for Emphasis on Sustainable Cuisine

by on June 22, 2015 6:35 AM

In central Pennsylvania, operating a restaurant with exclusively locally-sourced ingredients is no easy feat. 

It might come as a surprise, but a fairly modest restaurant attached to an East College Avenue hotel is one of the few doing it.

Harrison's Wine Grill, located inside the Hilton at 1221 E. College Ave., is earning recognition for its emphasis on sustainable cuisine.

National restaurant trade publication Sante recently gave Harrison's its Culinary Hospitality Award for Sustainable Cuisine in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

"At Harrison's, we are proud of the community we have created with our customers who come to enjoy each special menu, especially with ingredients sourced from our hard-working, high standard, local food growers and producers," says Kit Henshaw, one of two owners at the restaurant.

"We are honored to have been recognized by our peers with this award for our on-going efforts to maintain sustainable cuisine as much as possible in our four season environs," she adds.

Harrison's is focused on the farm-to-table attitude that's a growing trend in American cuisine in recent years. The idea behind the culinary movement is that there's no fresher meal than food grown nearby. 

"They’re the best ingredients you can buy because they’re fresh and you know exactly where the food comes from," says Karen Myford, the restaurant's marketing director. "When something says it was just picked, we know it was just picked. It helps our local economy and keeps the dollars right here."

As Myford puts it, sourcing ingredients for all four seasons is a lot easier in California than State College, and that's where Henshaw and her husband Harrison Schailey got their start. 

"We do the very best we can despite being limiting in our seasonality," Myford says. "So that’s a big coup. Harrison and Kit have been sourcing local ingredients from the beginning of their business."

Schailey defines his cuisine as California-style fusion, plating colorful dishes with layered flavors while cooking with the freshest ingredients possible. From locally grown produce to bread baked and to dairy from Centre County cows, Harrison's is emulating a culinary style that dominates California, but is difficult to find in central Pennsylvania. 

"Right now many of our food purveyors are local and some also organic, and every year our network of local farmers and vendors grows stronger and more diverse and our menu just keeps getting better," Henshaw says.

"At the same time, we value the importance of being honest with our customers and recognizing that when a good quality ingredient is not available locally, we go out of market to find it for them, especially seasonal seafood," she adds.

This summer, the restaurant is offering dishes such as an African-inspired chicken skewer, summer spice-rubbed tuna, pretzel-crusted chicken, and summer garden gnocchi.

 

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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