Restaurant Feature: Armsby Abbey
Alec Lopez and Sherri Sadowski opened Armsby Abbey in 2008 with a commitment to honest and responsible sourcing of the highest quality ingredients. To this husband and wife team, that meant cultivating strong relationships directly with their local farmers.
When Alec and Sherri first visited Mike Berberian, of Berberian’s Farm in Northborough, they shared with him their vision to using all local produce and warned that they would need to buy large amounts of freshly harvested produce, consistently. An experienced farmer, this was not the first restaurant Mike had heard this from, nor was he intent on growing or harvesting anything for one specific restaurant; especially a new one, on North Main St, in Worcester. Mike encouraged the pair to buy what they needed from the farm stand and come again any time. As evident by their relationship today, they did go back. Over the past eleven years Armsby Abbey has picked up a wide variety of freshly harvested produce from Berberian’s 3-4 times per week during the growing season. Mike’s production volumes have been directly impacted by this restaurant relationship. Unsuspectingly impacted were Mike’s levels of herb production, specifically rosemary and chives, not considered a high demand product by the average farm stand consumer, the restaurant’s needs provided a market to grow specialty herbs, in large quantities.
Berberian’s is not the only farm you will find on the ever-changing menu at Armsby, they work with dozens of local growers throughout the year to gather the highest quality produce and proteins for their menus. On some occasions this leads the Armsby team straight into the fields and orchards themselves. In the summer months the crew often visits Tougas Farm in Northborough to harvest the strawberries, peaches, blackberries and other fruits they need. The fruits are used fresh or processed by the Armsby kitchen to preserve the local flavor for use throughout the year.
As Armsby has grown as have their needs, and thankfully, have the distribution networks. Local buying has become more simplified in large part thanks to a Worcester County food hub, Lettuce Be Local. Owner Lynn Cheney serves as the conduit for food and information between area farms and food conscious restaurants such as Armsby Abbey. Lynn and her team deliver local food to the restaurant each week throughout the year ranging from flour and grains from Four Star Farm to butternut squash and carrots from Winter Moon Roots. Neither the need or supply are less in the cold winter months.
Seasonality can not only be seen, but also tasted with a visit to Armsby Abbey. Roughly 90 percent of their menu offerings are sourced locally, compelling drastic menu changes throughout the year. In order to turn the responsibly raised ingredients into delicious and relevant menu items for their guests, the kitchen staff must be highly talented and knowledgeable. Particular care is taken to minimize food waste and maximize all components of their produce and proteins from broccoli stalks to peach pits, bones to skin. The extremely talented kitchen staff consistently crafts dishes to surprise and delight their guests, peers and friends alike.
For Alec, Sherri and the entire team at Armsby Abbey their sense of responsibility doesn’t end with the purchasing of ingredients. It ends with the satisfaction in knowing their guests respect, enjoy and appreciate all of the hard work along the chain, beginning with the farmer.
144 Main St Worcester MA
Open 7 days per week serving lunch and dinner M-F & brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sundays.