BUCKHANNON – In case you haven’t heard, farm-fresh food isn’t all that’s cooking at Fish Hawk Acres these days.
The West Main Street restaurant and catering business, which specializes in preparing locally sourced dishes and lavish desserts, showcased its newly renovated second floor on Valentine’s Day weekend with a sure-to-enhance-romance special set menu.
The Hawk’s Nest and Perch Gallery private dining areas made their debut over the weekend in mid-February, but that’s not all chef Dale Hawkins and co-owner Teresa Lipps have up their sleeve.
They’ve also unveiled a new dinner menu, and by May, they’re hoping to double the space on FHA’s first floor with a market side, complete with a wine bar, charcuterie board and much more.
But let’s back up.
Hawkins recently sat down with My Buckhannon to discuss the recently finished and furnished 1,500-square foot second-floor space, which is collectively known as the Main Street Co-op. In concert with the bird-centric theme, there’s a front room called The Perch and a second cozy dining area called the Hawk’s Nest.
The modern farmhouse-style dining space is flexible, Hawkins and catering manager Sara Bednarski say, with the front room able to accommodate 10 people and the Hawk’s Nest designed to seat from 16 to 20 guests.
“If someone wanted to have a bridal shower, if someone wanted to have a baby shower, if they just wanted to have a luncheon or a small intimate dinner, that’s the idea behind it,” Hawkins said.
The Hawk’s Nest will also function as a place where the Fish Hawk crew can meet with catering clients.
“Because we do so much catering for weddings and other special events, we wanted a place where we could meet with the bride and groom or a client that was a little quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of downstairs,” Hawkins said.
While FHA plans to use the co-op as a space in which to cater special events, Hawkins said he wanted to ensure it was budget-friendly.
“We were thinking of the space and how under-utilized it was, and the funny thing was, we didn’t have an idea of what to do with it – all we knew was that we wanted to do something,” Hawkins said. “We were thinking, ‘We need to make each room be able to pay for itself,’ and the more diverse it can be, the more likely it is to be able to rent it.”
“We didn’t intend to gut the whole place and redo it, but guess what – we did,” Hawkins added, laughing.
So, the long and narrow front room will serve as a small private dining area, a boardroom and an art gallery for local historian, painter and photographer, Noel Tenney, who regularly decorates Fish Hawk Acres main headquarters downstairs in sync with the seasons. Tenney is likely to show hold scheduled showings of his body of work from Old Orchard Studio.
“He’s been the historian for as long as I can remember in Buckhannon, and I love his work,” Hawkins said, “but he just doesn’t have any room to show it, so I thought, ‘Well I wonder if Noel would want to do a gallery here, maybe we could put it in the front room,’ which we’re calling ‘The Perch.”
In January, FHA also added Sunday brunches to its repertoire. Brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dishes change weekly, but always include something sweet, something savory and a hearty lunch option. And now, from 4-8 p.m., customers can order more than the special of the day or what’s on the sandwich menu.
“We’re twisting how we do things down here, so we have a dinner menu with five entrees and a selection of appetizers to broaden dinner options,” Hawkins said. “You could still get a salad or a sandwich or whatever, but you have the option of a filet or a stuffed breast of chicken or a half a pound of steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce or salmon.”
But the biggest news is that Fish Hawk is knocking down the wall between its current location and the adjacent storefront to the right – and moving its coolers and grab-and-go options into a new market area. The marketplace will eventually feature an oval-shaped wine bar, a charcuterie board area with fresh meats, and a cheese and olive bar.
“We are going to be offering some very, very good, select types of cheeses,” Hawkins said.
What’s more, the new market section will sell fresh-cut flowers and Blenko glass, among other West Virginia wares. Hawkins hopes that section of FHA opens in May.
In the meantime, anyone interested in reserving the newly redone private dining area may call the catering office at 304-473-7890 or email email@example.com.