Behind-the-Scenes of the Farm Fresh Experience at Marble + Rye

By Morgan Culhane


A farm fresh focus has been at the core of Marble + Rye’s philosophy since day one. Everything on the menu is made from scratch and they work with local suppliers and farms whenever possible.


The Backstory

Burger at Marble + Rye in Buffalo, NY

photo Ryan Delmar

Owners Christian Willmott and Michael Dimmer officially opened the doors on Genesee Street in July of 2015 after owning and operating a food truck together for three years. The switch to brick and mortar was prompted by their passion to add more local ingredients to their menu. A physical location gave them the flexibility and the atmosphere to create a farm-to-table dining experience. Being able to include a full bar was also a major perk.


Today’s Philosophy

Fast forward to 2018, and Marble + Rye has become a staple in Buffalo’s dining community. The restaurant’s general philosophy is best described as local first - as long as local offers the best products. Fortunately, the area’s farmers make following this ideology easy and enjoyable.


The Sampling Experience

Small Plates at Marble + Rye Buffalo, NY

photo Ryan Delmar

Christian, Mike, and the rest of the staff share a passion for sampling and sharing. This small plates style of dining has been growing in popularity in major cities for a long time. Interest has grown more recently in Buffalo, and Marble + Rye is a standout example of how this works beautifully.

“Really it boils down to the way we like to eat,” said Christian. “We feel as though it’s the best way to go about giving everything that we have to offer in one sitting, or at least more than just an entree.”

If the term “small plates” scares you, don’t let it. The portion sizes are reasonable and the dishes are priced appropriately. The menu is set up so you can order several plates for yourself or for sharing around the table, while still paying an entree equivalent price.

This style of dining makes the experience very social and communal. But if small plates aren’t for you, the menu also features larger plates too, including exceptional pasta dishes. Sharing is, of course, still encouraged.

 

Creating & Changing The Menu

Dinner at Marble + Rye in Buffalo, NY 

photo Ryan Delmar

“Our menu is changing, at least in part, a couple times a week,” explained Christian.

The features change twice a week on average, and are based on what the local farms have to offer. If this rate of change seems crazy fast, it’s because it is. Luckily for hungry diners, Chef Mike has the culinary magic to make it work.

This works because Marble + Rye has a regular menu with staples as well as a features menu with 7 to 9 features for the day. Chef Mike receives a call from local farms saying we have x, y, and z this week. What’s available dictates the menu, and he works his magic. The planning stage for creating the menu is a day or two at most. That’s impressive to say the least.

“This helps us evolve, and it pushes us to change because we have to,” said Christian.

The Marble + Rye team isn’t totally in the dark here. Before a new season, the farmers they work with send over seasonality charts aka long-term planning is still semi a thing.

 

What This Means for the Menu

Marble + Rye sources from local farms every chance they can. Oles Farm has a diverse selection, and the running joke about their golden soil just might be true because their produce is outrageously good. They also turn to Plato Dale Farm for beef and chicken; Senek Farms for specific fruits; Always Something for pork and eggs; and many others.

“We want nothing more than to see these farms succeed and thrive,” said Christian.

The colorful and vibrant produce is typically plentiful from May through October, as long as Mother Nature cooperates. The end of fall triggers the switch to heartier veggies and certain ingredients begin to phase out of the menu. The protein heavy focus sticks around all year for obvious reasons.

 

The Drinks

Cocktail at Marble + Rye in Buffalo, NY

photo Ryan Delmar

The fresh focus carries over to the bar too. Marble + Rye’s drink selection is most definitely cocktail-focused, mostly because it lends to many opportunities to feature fresh, local ingredients. The bar manager Megan Lee is exceptionally talented, and the time and energy she spends crafting this menu are evident. All the syrups are made in house, and you’ll find lesser known spirits on the shelves here. The team is regularly tasting new spirits, and bringing unique options to the local craft cocktail scene.

The whiskey selection is stellar, hence the “Rye” in the restaurant’s name, but right now they are focusing more on growing their non-whiskey spirits. In fact, the Amaro selection is quickly becoming the bread and butter behind the bar. Offering a broad spectrum is a top priority. You can find everything from sweet and citrus to bitter and floral. The goal? Stocking options for every kind of drinker.

Don’t worry beer and wine drinkers, this includes you too. The wine list is carefully curated with pairing opportunities in mind. Generally, the selection is best described as old world wines. These subtle, delicate pours are mineral-forward and food-friendly. As for beer, the bar rotates 9 taps and around 12 cans with brews ranging from hoppy to light and tart to sweet. This menu changes with the seasons, but the selection process shares the same focus on variety and uniqueness.

 

The Farm Fresh Difference

Entree at Marble + Rye in Buffalo, NY

photo Ryan Delmar

Eating fresh and local tastes good for a reason. When fruits and veggies are harvested, the nutritional value immediately starts dwindling. So if your produce is traveling across the country, it has lost some of its nutritional value by the time it gets to your plate.

The farm-to-table approach skips these steps, thus shortening the gap between harvesting to meal preparation and consumption. What’s on your plate may have been picked just the day before. Plus, in Marble + Rye’s case the produce is free of chemicals and pesticides.

“We are really focused on what tastes good and what we feel good about serving. Those two kind of go hand and hand,” said Christian.

Seeing local business grow and succeed is good for everyone. All in all that’s the moral of the story here. So when you dine at Marble + Rye, remember you are supporting more than one local dream.

 

Marble + Rye

112 Genesee Street, Buffalo

https://marbleandrye.net/


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