story and photo by Gabrielle L. Wheeler
Self-described as a “spirited cookery,” Kindred Fare on Hamilton Street in Geneva is serving dishes and beverages filled with fresh, local ingredients in an atmosphere of genuine rustic elegance.
Stating that the inspiration for the restaurant came from the city of Geneva itself, restaurant owner Susie Atvell says, “I wanted to do something local and seasonal with the region.” To do so, Kindred Fare’s menu pays homage to the heritage of the Finger Lakes as an agricultural region. The menu is broken up by more than just the protein you get on your plate, but rather by who made it or raised it. For example, there is “a nod to the ploughman, which is our cheese and charcuterie section. (It’s) kind of like the ploughman’s lunch, what they are eating on the fields,” says Atvell. “Other sections include the Fisherman, the Farmer and Forager, the Butcher, and the Baker.”
With a unique menu set-up and tantalizing yet equally as unique menu selections, Executive Chef Max Spittler serves visually pleasing dishes filled with fine, local ingredients. Seasonal selections are a founding philosophy for the restaurant, which means specials follow what is available: when it is asparagus season, asparagus is highlighted; when it is strawberry season, strawberries are on the menu. Producing delicious dishes filled with local ingredients doesn’t stop at produce for Kindred Fare, they also butcher some of their own meats and do their own processing. “We definitely get whole fish in and sometimes we get whole animals, like whole lambs, from our local farmers,” says Atvell. “We grind all our own burger meat to make our own burger patties and everything.” And don’t forget house-made desserts, breads, or the creative beverage menu. The bar director, Brian Butterfield, has a new summer drink available: The Scratched Anchor, with lemon verbena, blueberries, cocoa nib, cognac, and regional verjus.
When I go to partake, the restaurant has heavy wooden doors we pass through to enter. Red brick walls and an open layout greet along with the friendly wait staff dressed in black. My companion and I are seated at a walnut table with chairs that are elegant in black. An open kitchen stands off the dining area, the cooks busily preparing dishes as the dinner hour comes into full swing. My recommendation: go with family, go with friends, or go to socialize because over all, as Atvell says, Kindred Fare’s “whole philosophy is ‘to share is to love:’ share good knowledge, share good dialogue, share good vibes.”