Eating at farm-to-table restaurants is a pretty big deal for my family. Whether near home or while traveling, we seek healthier and more environmentally friendly restaurants that prepare food made with locally sourced ingredients. My family enjoys fresh foods that are not only good for us but are helping to protect the planet and support the growth of local economies. When ESCAPE Montclair reached out to try their new brunch menu, I was particularly enthused to try out a farm-to-table restaurant with an innovative chef championing the locavore landscape here in New Jersey.
Escape Montclair is an innovative locavore restaurant specializing in southern fine cuisine. My family loves Southern fare so we were excited to taste Chef Bryan Gregg’s vision of one of our favorite cuisines. At Escape, Chef Bryan Gregg’s focus is to break new ground on the culinary landscape by showcasing the finest locally-sourced ingredients in a fresh, creative way. Chef Bryan Gregg is a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. Early in his career, Chef Gregg honed his skills at some of the most highly-regarded restaurants and with world-class chefs in New York and New Jersey. As a crusader for local New Jersey food producers, Chef Gregg is committed to nose-to-tail cooking while still maintaining respect for the food he is given to work with.
Escape has a casual atmosphere which my family enjoyed and felt instantly welcomed. The decor is minimalist yet warm with cheerful flowers and vintage decors. The black and white photography personalizes the space and I recognized a few familiar farms. “Farm to table” is the concept of purchasing locally grown food directly from the source. The term comes from the idea that the less time and fewer hands it takes for the food to get from the farm to the table, the fresher, more environmentally sensitive and community minded it is. I try to practice this is at home and at the restaurants we dine at.
This month, Escape Montclair launched a special children’s menu for lunch and dinner and a deeply-discounted brunch prix fixe menu for guests. The children’s menu is offered at every service and features healthy options and kid’s favorties at affordable price points. The kids’ brunch menu on the weekends is just as cost effective with a 2-course menu for $10.
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Escape’s menu changes daily based on what is in season and freshest from their farmers and purveyors. With theme nights like Burger Tuesday, Fried Chicken Wednesday, and a fun Friday Happy Hour (perfect for date night for the Mister and I!), patrons can also experience an affordable night out. This working mom of two can appreciate this! I also want to support farm to table businesses that supports local ecology and economy. Dining at restaurants that joined this movement and buys locally to strengthen the neighboring rural community as well at the neighborhood’s economy is a win-win.
My boys enjoyed their starters of the collard greens and smoked sausage soups. Both remarked how tasty it was and how it warmed them up on a chilly Spring day. My cheddar grits with mushrooms was delectable but I couldn’t finish it all after eating one of each of Escape’s delicious biscuits and cornbread. My husband finished my cheddar grits happily after finishing his beets, cider, and smoked pecans starter which he said was remarkably fresh, simple yet prepared nicely.
For the second courses, my older son went with the EM burger, cheddar, bacon onion jam. Even a children’s portion proved to be too much for my tween and he took half home for later! He said he enjoyed it and loved the bacon onion jam. My younger son devoured his egg sandwich with nothing to bring home. My little man can really put it away sometimes!
Dessert (a bit of a pricey splurge) proved to be an excellent end to an amazing brunch experience. We all tried different desserts. My son’s smooth and delicious goat cheese cake and my decandant chocolate dessert were my personal favorites but my husband’s hearty yet sweet corn cake and other son’s tasty and tantalizing apple turnover was fantastic as well.
The locally sourced and delicious food, attentive and friendly service, and minimalist yet warm ambience truly made our brunch at ESCAPE Montclair. Escape Montclair definitely succeeds in a memorable farm-to-table, locavore experience and my family cannot wait to dine here again!
If you do visit soon, ESCAPE Montclair is celebrating its second anniversary with a month-long bake sale every weekend to help end childhood hunger. You can buy treats to take home and the proceeds will be donated to Share Our Strength. If you are passionate about helping end childhood hunger and unable to visit ESCAPE in April, you can donate through the restaurant’s donation page.
Do you frequent farm-to-table restaurants?
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Disclosure: ESCAPE Montclair invited my family to an exclusive media preview of their new children’s and brunch prix fixe menus. All opinions and text are my own.