Phew! The first phase of the Arbor Brewing Company Pub & Eatery menu makeover is FINALLY out. If you haven't heard, we're in the process of going local, natural, and sustainable. There's a lot of research that needs to be done to get us where we want to be so we're taking it a step at a time in an attempt to guard our own sanity and not freak out our staff or regulars too much.
A big part of phase one was to begin to replace processed industrial foods with items made in-house. This menu includes homemade tortillas, charro beans, spicy black beans, cilantro-lime rice, roasted red pepper hummus, red pepper sauce, cucumber yogurt sauce, arrabiata sauce, enchilada sauce, cornbread muffins, desserts, chicken strips, and tapenade. Future improvements will include making our own tartar sauce, pesto, Caesar dressing, french fries, black bean burger, margarita mix, bloody mary mix, and foccacia dough to name a few.
Of course this is ultimately about supporting and strengthening local food systems and local economies so we are now getting our dairy from Calder, breads from Eds, ravioli from Mama Muccis, and tortilla chips from Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory. Our next step in the pursuit of local sourcing will target cheese, beans, grains, dry pasta, beef, poultry, tempeh, coffee, and pita to name a few.
And of course as we move into the bountiful produce season in Michigan, we will be working on local sourcing for fruit and veggies as well. And going forward, our menu will change during the season - highlighting fresh local foods and benching items that are no longer available.
One of our biggest challenges is going to be finding a source for local, all-natural, grass fed beef. We get a very good product now but it isn't local. We're working with a couple different farmers to try and piece together a sufficient supply to meet our demand (our customers eat a LOT of hamburgers!)
We have hired a local foods coordinator who will be in charge of making contacts, visiting the farmers markets, designing seasonal soups and specials, making over our banquet menu, and helping with staff education. She is due to join us around the beginning of May and her contact information will be available on the contact page.
We welcome any and all input. Please let us know who your favorite local suppliers are and please bear with us while we work out the kinks!
And thanks to everyone for all of your encouragement and support. We feel so fortunate to be in a community that understands and embraces this kind of project.
Our customers rock.