Cooking Local


The menu of the newly revamped Harbor Landing Restaurant in Egg Harbor is printed simply:  black ink on plain, non-laminated white paper. If this seems like a temporary arrangement, that’s because it is. Owners Nick Small and Nate Reifsnyder, dedicated to providing local, organic food centered around a Wisconsin theme, change the Harbor Landing menu every week.

Harbor Landing has a cozy, but sophisticated feel to it, like the macaroni and cheese they serve as a side dish. The building’s low ceilings, uneven floors, and old fireplace all give the space an air of authority and homemade elegance. Though Harbor Landing has had the same name and been housed in the same location (along Highway 42 in downtown Egg Harbor) for several years, Small and Reifsnyder re-opened the former gift shop as a restaurant, with the intention of producing unique, local food.

“We go local first on every product,” Reifsnyder says. “If we can find it locally, we use it; if we can’t, we go organic.” This philosophy results in a tasty array of food at the restaurant. Last week, for example, the menu offered (among other options) a cherry brat, Door County polish sausage, and a “Wisco Dog” (a Door County hot dog with a smorgasbord of toppings, including cherry pickles).

Harbor Landing offers a tapas menu, which last week included a Wisconsin sausage platter and a locally baked bread basket. Small and Reifsnyder also recently added a new fish section to the menu.

“The meat seems to be a big hit,” says Reifsnyder, “as well as the fish.” At the moment, fish selections include crawfish from the Mississippi River and bacon-crusted bluegill made with bluegill farmed in Wisconsin. Like the rest of the menu, the fish and tapas selections will change on a regular basis.

A variety of local farmers, gardeners, and bakers provide Harbor Landing with the ingredients for its fare. These include Carmon’s Gardens (greens and herbs), Cherrydale Farms (more greens and certain vegetables), DC Custom Meats (a variety of meats), Cates Farm (summer sausage and organic ribeyes), Chuck Sully’s Crusty Uprising (bread baked in Algoma’s eco-friendly Farm Market Kitchen), and Greens ‘n Grains (Egg Harbor’s own all-purpose natural food store).

Small and Reifsnyder are catering all the food for this summer’s concert series at the Peg Egan Performing Arts Center in Egg Harbor, and their engagement with the arts doesn’t stop there. They also have a gallery on the restaurant’s upper level, currently featuring an exhibit of art made with found objects.

In a sense, Harbor Landing is itself a sort of “found object,” taking resources that this area already has and elevating them into something delicious. Small and Reifsnyder’s menu may change, but their dedication to all things local and organic is constant.