Farm to table has become something of a standard restaurant descriptor these days, but Dig Inn considers itself the leader in "farm to counter." At this New York–based concept, local, seasonal fare is celebrated with a menu of market plates, salads, and sandwiches featuring naturally raised meats, and a variety of sides that change with the seasons.
Dig Inn may have started as a lunch and carryout destination, but it's working to beef up its daylong business. Last July, the brand opened its first restaurant in Boston, which besides being the largest location to date, also features a breakfast menu. Now the Upper East Side and Westchester County locations in New York also serve breakfast, which founder Adam Eskin says makes for an experience more akin to full service than fast casual.
Eskin worked in finance before making the move to restaurants. In addition to bringing affordable, wholesome food to the masses, he's also out to change the sourcing status quo.
"Over the years we've developed direct partnerships with local farmers that strip out layers of cost in the supply chain," Eskin says. "Knowing the first names—and kids' names and pet names—of our farmers takes a long time, but these relationships are integral to the kind of food we're serving: food that's counterforce to traditional 'big ag.'"
To that end, Dig Inn is buying its own farm in the Hudson Valley as a hub for R&D and chef training. Eskin hopes this will also serve as an affordable alternative for aspiring chefs who cannot afford a formal culinary education, while instilling in them a passion for better food systems. "Our long-term vision involves creating a platform that encourages the agricultural movement, both on farms and in our kitchens," Eskin says.