Local Food That’s Kid- and Parent-Friendly
If you're eating well at home, you need a restaurant that takes your healthy lifestyle seriously.
Many of us are feeding our kids with one eye on the nutrition label and another on what’s actually being eaten. It’s often a challenge to find dishes that your children will enjoy while also providing them the nutritional benefits they so desperately need.
Even if you’re successful at having your kids eat healthy at home, eating out can become complicated. Your kids may eat grilled chicken and broccoli around the family table, but fall back on chicken fingers and pizza when you’re dining in a restaurant.
Dave Magrogan, founder and CEO of the Dave Magrogan Group, started Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar to appeal to all diners, including families, who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even when they’re dining outside of their home. Harvest’s farm-to-table concept emphasizes fresh and local ingredients that are served during their peak season to ensure that dishes are incredibly flavorful — and, in most cases, under 500 calories.
Magrogan calls it cooking for “what your body’s been built for.” That means high-quality protein, including grass-fed beef and hormone-free, organic chicken. The restaurant buys from local farmers, and serves organic and non-GMO ingredients as often as possible. The dishes are prepared so these beautiful ingredients can be the star of the plate.
“It really is not just about where the ingredients come from, but how they’re prepared,” Magrogan said.
Harvest’s philosophy is also true of their kids’ menu. Magrogan has three kids of his own, and said he focuses on quality and variety. A typical meal at his home may consist of an organic veggie burger, a cucumber-based salad, and Brussels sprouts.
“If that’s the way I’m feeding my kids at home and we want to go out to dinner, where can we go?” he asked. “If you’re at home cooking valuable meals for your family that are relatively clean; high in the good stuff and low in the bad stuff, you end up going out to most of the chain restaurants where you’re getting the exact opposite.”
Harvest has seven locations, including its newest restaurant in Radnor, which is attracting Main Line families with its combination of a health-conscious menu and a kid-friendly vibe. Their kids’ menu serves some children’s staples, including their kid- (and parent-) approved mac and cheese. Yet, it also has dishes to introduce kids to healthier dining options, including teriyaki salmon, grass-fed beef, and falafel. Dishes also come with healthy sides such as fresh berries and other fruits — and don’t worry, baked French fries are also on the menu. The restaurant’s flatbreads are also a popular pizza stand-in.
David Schorn, the executive chef at the Radnor location, who is a parent himself, loves providing young guests with the opportunity to try something new, such as seared tuna, as well as many other dishes that can quickly become favorites.
Since the food is prepared from scratch, Harvest can modify dishes to fit individual needs, such as food allergies and sensitivities. Chef Schorn said the kitchen can work to serve food that’s free of nuts, gluten, and other allergens, and the staff is trained to ask about allergies and to avoid cross-contamination while preparing and serving dishes.
“We want to be that restaurant that makes all diners feel at home,” Schorn said.
That sentiment is part of the Harvest commitment to partner with regional farmers to ensure their guests receive the best ingredients. For example, the Strawberry Patch Salad, a popular menu item, includes a bed of greens topped with sliced almonds, blueberries, and strawberries, and is often made an entrée by adding chicken. It’s perfect for the peak, local strawberry season, that begins in the Delaware region and continues into Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County.
“There’s no reason to bring in strawberries from California if we can get them fresh here,” Schorn said.
Schorn said he appreciates knowing a family farmer he’s buying from. Summer is when local vegetables and fruit are in their greatest abundance, and Harvest showcases the season’s stars. This summer, their menu features a Watermelon Tuna Tartare, a Nutty Watermelon Salad, and a wrap featuring red quinoa and green tomatoes. They’re the perfect complement to a summer night out on the restaurant’s patio.
Magrogan said Harvest’s menu still allows for the occasional indulgence, with entrée options such as the filet mignon and the bone-in pork chop which are often paired with a decadent sauce. Even if a guest chooses to enjoy one of these dishes, they can be assured that the meat was raised humanely, he said.
“What we’ve tried to do is give real options of real food to our guests,” Magrogan said. “Eighty percent of our guests go to Harvest and they really are looking for a high-quality ingredient, high-quality meal without damaging their health or their waistline.”
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar is at 555 E. Lancaster Ave. in Radnor. To see menus or make a reservation, visit HarvestSeasonalGrill.com.
Special Offer for the Main Line Parent and Philly Family Communities!
Get a free kid’s meal with the purchase of one adult entree when you mention this ad. Limit one per table; offer good through July 31, 2017.
Photographs by Casey Kallen.