Like most restaurants operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lovettsville’s highly acclaimed Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, owned by Beverly Morton Billand, has experienced significant changes over the past year.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant managed to continue operations by selling family-style meals to-go and farmers market products through the spring and summer months.
Then several things happened at nearly the same time: award-winning chef Tarver King announced his departure in order to open his own venture in Paeonian Springs — slated to open in spring 2022 — and Billand made the decision to provide full-time care for her 97-year-old mother, Ardis Morton.
In October, she decided to close the restaurant for a few months to focus on her family.
“We needed to close so I could be there for my mother through her journey. She took care of me when I was growing up, and I felt it was a good time in my life to be with her. I felt honored to do it,” she said.
When Billand and her husband Charles purchased Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville in 1985, her goal was to farm the 40 acres of land in order to provide food for their family of five daughters. The farm is located in the northern corner of Loudoun County off Lovettsville Road and overlooks the Potomac River.
“I wanted to be able to grow my children’s food so they would never go hungry no matter what happened,” she said.
The decision to transform from a family farm to open a restaurant was based her desire to share her love of growing what is enjoyed at the table.
The restaurant concept began in 1997 when Billand opened the barn for small dinners of about 20 people at one time. The barn restaurant then moved to a terrace, and in 2004 she built a glass conservatory that is now the space for the current restaurant.
While Billand does not raise animals, she says there are chickens that produce eggs for the farm, and she raises turkeys for Thanksgiving. The real focus is on growing certified organic fruits and vegetables and foraging from the land, she said.
“The whole concept is to grow as much as we can and bring it to the table. I’m one of the first in the U.S. to literally have a restaurant on a farm,” she said. “We pick everything from the garden and bring it to the table, and I want everyone to eat that way.”
Patowmack Farm has received multiple awards and accolades over the years for its farm-to-table service, which Billand says makes her feel blessed and lucky.
“I wanted to be a change, to nourish the soul and excite the palate. I’m excited for other farmers and artisan providers around who also provide us with food,” she said.
Billand believes the concept at Patowmack is actually considered “earth-to- table” rather than farm-to-table.
“I want to take what the earth has to offer and do foraging – items such as pawpaws and ramps – we want to use as much as we can from the land,” she said. “The more and more people that do this, it’s great – people get excited about sustainability, and that’s important. If I have made a small difference, that’s great.”
After some painting, cleaning and “sprucing up” the place, the restaurant reopened on Feb. 1 with a new chef in place – Vincent Badiee.
“We are very fortunate to have him. Every chef has brought the restaurant higher, and I’m confident he will raise the bar further,” Billand said.
Badiee’s experience includes several Washington, D.C., and New York restaurants, including working with Chef Cesare Casella, Daniel Boulud, Daniel Humm and Fortunato Nicotra. Most recently, he worked at Chef Jose Andres’ Zaytinya, followed by Fiola and then Gravitas, where he won a Michelin Star as chef de cuisine.
Badiee’s focus will be on continuing Patowmack’s emphasis on locally-grown and sustainable seasonal ingredients.
“Every new chef has great ideas of what will happen. I’m excited for what the future holds,” she said.