Dana Farrell: An Advocate of Health-Conscious, Farm-to-Table Cuisine

Sustainability, seasonal ingredients, and locally sourced foods—this is the philosophy on which she and Dave Magrogan built Glen Mills’ Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. Here’s why.

Late summer and early fall are bountiful times for lovers of locally sourced fruits and vegetables. Restaurateur Dana Farrell is hoping many of them flock to Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar in Glen Mills, where the movement toward sustainability and farm-fresh foods is embodied in a menu that features all-local fruits, veggies and meats.

MLT: How did you get into this side of the restaurant industry?
I used to co-own the Classic Diner in Malvern. When I met my current business partner (Dave Magrogan, CEO of Kildare’s Irish Pub and Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House) two years ago, I was looking to dive into the restaurant business again on my own, and our interests and skills ended up meshing perfectly. We realized that there was a need for this type of restaurant. People are very health conscious now and concerned about where their food is being grown. At Harvest, we also keep all our food in its natural state. We don’t cook with a fryer or any preservatives, and instead of butter or cream, we find healthier substitutes. That helps to keep the calorie count down.

MLT: Did either of you have any experience with the farm-to-table philosophy before opening Harvest?
Not professionally. But we’re both health conscious as far as exercising and watching what we eat, and we both like to give back to our communities. By providing our patrons with good, healthy produce that’s grown close to home, we’re supporting the community that produces that food.

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MLT: Why Glen Mills?
Dave and I both grew up in the area, and we wanted to create a place with a hip feel—a restaurant with a city vibe outside of Philadelphia. It’s a place for people like myself, for young families who are always on the go and need a place to take the kids for lunch or dinner. A place where everyone can get something they like, where you can eat what you want and still feel good about it.

MLT: You place a huge emphasis on “seasonal.”
Our menu changes four times a year, with the onset of each new season. Not everything changes 100 percent, though. Maybe we have a chicken dish that we keep on the menu, but we change the vegetables served with it based on the time of year and on what local farms have to offer. We’re constantly looking at reports that show what consumers are eating and what they want to eat in a particular season.

MLT: Is the health-conscious trend here to stay?
Absolutely. More and more restaurants are putting calorie counts on their menus, and cooking shows on television are huge now. People want to eat a healthy diet and are more aware of how to do it. They want to know where their food comes from—that’s not going to disappear anytime soon.

To learn more, visit harvestseasonalgrill.com.

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