Dreaming the Dream…..Walking the Walk
How often have you heard someone sigh and then say, “Someday, I am going to…..” and they go on to wistfully explain a dream they have. Well, I want to introduce you to Leslie Hotaling and Patti Miller who are following their dream, walking their walk.
Leslie served as the Director of Public Works for the City of Washington, D.C. and Patti as a Realtor in Alexandria for over 27 years. They visited Berkeley Springs, saw the Panorama steak restaurant positioned on Route 9 at the overlook, and found out it was for sale. The next two years passed quickly, as Patti moved there to start the ball rolling on what has become West Virginia’s premier Farm to Table restaurant. Leslie made her move and the Panorama on the Peak opened on August 28, 2005.
Leslie’s and Patti’s concept is comprehensive.
*** They believe they are stewards of the land. They have plans to keep the Overlook dedicated for public access, concerned that the sweeping views will be blocked potentially by someone who can afford to purchase and then build on the site, restricting the beautiful valley panorama of the Potomac River. They have acquired a grant to start to gain control over the invasive non-native Alainthus tree which is beginning to block the view. They have plans to build hiking paths and be part of the recreational system along the river. They need help to make this work.
*** They believe that part of wise land management results in as minimal negative impact on the land as possible. To that end, they make efforts to maximize recycling, minimize waste, and to reuse wherever possible byproducts of the restaurant. For example, kitchen waste becomes compost for the herb gardens.
***They believe that the healthiest food is local food. Under the experienced leadership of Executive Chef Scott Collinash, the menu changes weekly based on availability of produce, fish, poultry, pork, beef and lamb. Panorama purchases most provisions directly from farms within 65 miles. Where local sources cannot be found, organic foods are the next choice
***They believe that healthy food is affordable and all people can access it and enjoy it.
Everything served at Panorama is made from FRESH WHOLE FOOD, most of it local, and much of it organic.
Leslie, Patti and Chef Scott took some time to sit with us. Their passion for what they do permeates the air around them. Leslie says she has the best job because she makes it all run like clockwork, welcoming the guests and hiring the best staff in the world. Patti says she has the best job because she gets to visit all the farms and make arrangements for the freshest quality food in the area.
Scott says he has the best job because he can just cook and have fun coming up with new ways to use abundant produce. He said in January, when Mock’s greenhouse had a lot of green tomatoes, he developed recipes for salad, soup, a martini, a tomatillo-like sauce, green tomato pasta, ratatouille relish, a sweet bread pudding, and a green tomato chocolate cupcake which supplemented their usual fried green tomato sandwich on the menu.
Located in the Eastern Panhandle, the farms that are sources for produce, meats, eggs, and dairy as well as some value added products are located in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. One menu item that is not sourced the same way is the steak that has remained on the menu since acquisition of the steakhouse. In order to satisfy long-term patrons, the former source has been maintained.
There is a lot of joy at this place. From the Christmas tree that stays decorated all year to the concerts by singer/songwriter Larry Bish, there is life to celebrate.
Panorama on the Peak is proud not only of its West Virginia Local Foods Designation but also that it is the first West Virginia certified Humane restaurant. Currently there are only four other restaurants certified similarly in the nation.
The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 to last seating at 8:30. Located on Route 9/Cacapon Road up the hill from Berkeley Springs, the restaurant is on the uphill side at the parking area at the panorama. You can’t miss it!
Call for directions and reservations 304.258.0050