Heartwood Eatery expands with new broth and ramen bar in Nevada City
This week, Nevada City’s favorite organic eatery and community hub is expanding.
A nourishing broth and noodle bar called the Heartwood Annex, opens this Thursday, in the old Los Mineros space on Commercial Street.
The new nighttime cafe will open next door to its roots and founding location, the original Heartwood Eatery on Commercial Street.
“I’m stoked about the menu I’ve created— local bone broths, meats, veggies – everything good for you in a bowl,” said Kitchen Manager Mielle Chenier Cowan Rose.
The menu features fresh, organic, whole grain ramen noodles, house-made nutrient-dense broths and seasonal, locally grown vegetables and sustainably raised meat and eggs from organic Nevada County farms and ranches.
Diners can choose from a creamy Chicken Paitan Ramen, a Pork Ramen with local and sustainably raised pork or a Vegetarian Miso Ramen made with Pacific wildcrafted kombu, organic shiitake mushrooms and artisan Hodo Soy tofu. All ramen bowls are served with seasonal veggies and marinated eggs, plus housemade chili oil or “green bomb” sauce. Then there are the Pho bowls – grass-fed beef or vegetarian broth enriched with astragalus and burdock root – served with flat rice noodles, herbs, fried shallots, lime and pickled chilis on request.
In Japan, ramen is more than just a bowl of soup. It’s an expression of place. Heartwood has sourced fresh ramen noodles from Oregon-based women-owned vendor, Umi Organic made with high protein Western wheat and whole-grain barley flour, known for their nutritional value and a nutty delicious flavor. The vegan noodles are certified organic and won the 2021 Good Food Award. Heartwood will also offer gluten-free ramen noodles made from organic rice & millet so there will be something for everyone.
Crispy fried “nom noms”, shredded salad with fresh herbs and a “Three Muses” ferment sampler plate plus sweet treats like pumpkin sesame mochi cake or sesame candy ball and fudge with Fuyu persimmon will round out the menu.
“This is definitely my element. I’ve been making delicious, wholesome menus for 20 years,” said Chenier Cowan Rose, someone who doesn’t take good food lightly. Chenier Cowan Rose cut her culinary teeth at macrobiotic and vegetarian restaurants in the Bay Area and has immersed herself in the local food scene in Nevada County for nearly a decade. The author of several cookbooks, Mielle was catering retreats, managing the CSA program for Mountain Bounty Farm, sitting on the local Food Policy Council and devoting her time as a farm to school liaison for Sierra Harvest before joining the Heartwood team in August 2020.
Creating a sustainable food ecosystem
The kitchen buys directly from many local farms and ranches including Chapman Family Farm, Starbright Acres, Super Tuber Farm, FogDog Farm, Bluebird Farm, Companion Farms, Sunrock Farm, Feeding Crane Farm, First Rain Farm, Mushroom Barn, Mountain Bounty Farm, Back to Basics, AM Ranch, Rondini Ranch and Richards Ranch.
“Heartwood is jamming as one of the main buyers of local produce in our town. That makes me really proud and happy. When you purchase something local, your money gets circulated back into the community. That boost to our local economy turns me on so much,” said Chenier Cowan Rose.
Adding the new digs to the Heartwood name is a natural progression that builds on the success of the original Eatery opened four years ago by owner and chef Scott “Scotty” Weidert. A Bear River High School grad, Weidart attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and worked in the Chez Panisse kitchen and other notable restaurants before starting Heartwood in 2017. Shortly after opening, Operations Manager Tony Perez-Carpenter joined the team. Carpenter was running diners and working at farmers’ markets in the Bay Area before moving to Nevada City with his wife and new baby.
“I really share a lot of the same ethos as Scotty. The real drive that he felt the calling to do is feed the community with healthy food and make it affordable. I totally resonate with that,” said Carpenter.
For years a loyal fan base of healthy eaters – parents with small children, young folk (sometimes transient and seasonal), local foodies, farmers and chefs – have been seeking out the rice bowls, salads and hearty toast plates served up inside the inviting cafe made extra cozy with local art hanging on the walls and hand-hewn wooden tables.
“It kind of feels like a hub, which is exactly what Scotty was looking for,” said Perez-Carpenter.
Offering comforting broth and noodle bowls to a slightly different nighttime crowd will help Heartwood reach more people with sustainable offerings. Commercial Street is a lively pedestrian-friendly boulevard at night with a young bohemian and sometimes global energy where the crowd is hungry for warm, nourishing food that is quick, casual and affordable after dark.
“We’re always going back to this idea that food can be healing. We believe deep magic can come from bone broth. It’s such a nutritious thing,” said Perez-Carpenter.
In turn, Heartwood consumers get that feel-good reciprocity vibe knowing that their food choices are fueling a vibrant local economy, a happier community and a healthier planet.
“We’re creating a sustainable local ecosystem. When we can create a food system for farmers, food vendors and young people, we’re investing in the community,” said Perez-Carpenter
The new Heartwood Annex will be open 5:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The original Heartwood cafe is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and will stay open till 6pm on Sundays for Victorian Christmas this month.
Last week, people flocked to Placer County to participate in the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.
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