Barrel And Grain Local Taphouse, West Palm Beach, Fla: Deliciousness
Local farm-to-table dining has come to West Palm Beach, Florida. The Barrel & Grain Local Taphouse opened March 22, 2013. “I think people are interested in where their food comes from. I believe in an open kitchen and openness in food. It is the new trend,” said Executive Chef Kevin Preble.
Preble was very chatty when I asked him why farm-to-table and why here?“A few years ago the catch phrase was organic and it was huge,” Preble said stretching his arms out as wide as they would go, “Now it’s local.”
We were sitting inside at the pink granite bar.
“I like to talk to guests and educate them,” Preble said, “I like to educate young cooks. Many of them come from kitchens with bagged sauces.” He wants them to learn the skill of small batch cooking so they can carry the experience out into the industry and change it.
“I pride myself in balanced seasoning. I like bold flavors but from the product and not from salt,” said Preble.
I agreed with his practice. My low-salt salad was alive with flavors. The ingredients were sourced from farmers at the Saturday morning West Palm Beach Green Market. There was Red Orach from Swank Specialty Produce, and heirloom tomatoes from Farmhouse Tomatoes. There were also delicious chunks of oversized croutons and crispy bacon bits made in-house.
Illinois born Prebel came to Florida at age one and so considers this home. He spent some time in the military, and then backpacked through Central and South America. He also cooked in Peru, France and Europe before settling in Miami to work at The W South Beach Hotel.
He moved to Palm Beach County to take care of his ailing mother, his biggest fan. Unfortunately she died. But he stayed on, and worked for Park Tavern (Delray), and RACKS Downtown Eatery and Tavern (Boca Raton) before opening the Barrel & Grain for owners Chase Woolard, Sam Abdelkader, and Mahmud Shihadeh.
He met them in Miami, “I never knew people so passionate about local and doing the best for customers," Preble said with a smile.
He really believes in buying products from many farmers. “The challenge of being a Florida chef is you have to be really creative because the climate is so extreme. It goes from freezing to heat waves,” said Preble.
He buys products from Swank Specialty Produce (Loxahatchee), Teena’s Pride CSA (Homestead), and Palmetto Creek Farms (Avon Park).
“Without these amazing farmers we would not be able to do what we do today,” Preble said.
The Barrel and Grain Local Taphouse also sells small batch wine and spirits, and over 250 varieties of craft beers.
“I think it is the right thing to do, bringing local food and beverage to people without cutting corners. It is long hours but it is worth it,” said Preble.
The Barrel and Grain Local Taphouse serves artisan fusion cuisine for lunch, dinner and brunch (weekends only) at 125 Datura Street, in downtown West Palm Beach, FL 33401, Phone 561-833-2767