Beuchert’s celebrates its six-month anniversary with a day at the farm.
Story and photos by Anne Kim-Dannibale
Many of the friends, family and a smattering of media gathered at East Oaks Farm in Poolsville, Md. on a glorious Sunday afternoon had the same thing on their minds — when would the roast pig be ready and has it really been just six months since Beuchert’s opened?
The pig emerged from the portable caja china roaster by 2 p.m. and indeed, it had been six months since the Capitol Hill restaurant opened its doors to much fanfare. “So many people say they can’t believe it’s been six months,” said Nathan Berger, one of the owners. “It seems like it’s been much longer.”
And there was no better place to celebrate than at the farm where it all started. Owned by Susan and Skip McMahon, Beuchert’s co-owner Brendan McMahon’s parents, the farm provides much of the fresh produce and chickens used at the restaurant. It even served as headquarters when Berger, McMahon and chef Andrew Markert were renovating the former Prohibition-era saloon on Pennsylvania Avenue. “We’d come out here and work, crack open a couple of beers at 1 a.m. in the moonlight. It was dead quiet,” remembered Markert.
Things weren’t as quiet on this particular day, though a relaxed group of curious guests took a spin around the 120-acre farm sampling shishito peppers, lime basil and heirloom tomatoes right from the vine. There were also Cornish Croft chickens with their vibrant orangey-red feathers like so many sunsets clucking softly at the onlookers, and a chocolate thoroughbred who eyed the group with just as much curiosity.
And of course, there was the food.
Besides a whole pig, the day started with the beginnings of a solid picnic: house-cured charcuterie, pickled vegetables, deviled eggs and chicken paté. Later, guests dug into heaps of roast chicken, bell peppers, potato salad and two desserts: homemade peach cobbler and blackberry Madeleine cake. Not to mention cocktails, wine and beer to round it all out.
“You’re effectively eating at Beuchert’s offsite,” Berger said at the end of the day. “The farm is a big part of what we do.
“People have been enjoying good food and good drinks at the Beuchert’s location since 1880,” Berger continued. “And we are happy to continue that tradition with a 21st-century flavor.”
UPDATED: This story reflects a clarification in a quote from an earlier version.