I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn LaRochelle, owner of Chester’s new catering service and restaurant, Wyld Thyme, located in the old Pioneer Grill space. Dawn is no stranger to the restaurant business as the owner-operator of Perigee Restaurant in Lee, as well as Apogee Catering and Bete Avon Kosher Catering. Wyld Thyme is CTC’s season sponsor this year and we look forward to the cuisine and vitality they will bring to our town! Wyld Thyme will be opening June 12.
~Todd Trebour, CTC’s Marketing and Development Director
What made you decide to move to Chester?
Richard Holzman, a customer of our South Lee restaurant (Perigee) and a Chester native, was the one who initially encouraged me to take a look at the old Pioneer Grill; since “the customer is always right,” Nick [member of Perigee management team and now manager of Wyld Thyme] and I took the drive down to Chester and immediately fell in love with both the town and the restaurant! We are particularly excited about the opportunity to partner up with a world-class local theater company like CTC, and to grow our catering business in the Hilltown area — we want Wyld Thyme to be known as THE place to celebrate a country wedding or throw the world’s best birthday party (or any milestone event, from rehearsal dinners to baby showers to anniversaries and more).
What kinds of cuisine do you serve at Wyld Thyme?
Classy-casual, from-scratch pub food, with something for every one (from meat and potatoes lovers to vegetarians to vegans to the gluten intolerant). Wyld Thyme is a great place to enjoy a candle-lit date night or to grab a burger and a beer at the “John Dewey Bar” (salvaged from the governor’s mansion in NY); our atmosphere is warm and welcoming no matter what the occasion, or what your attire. We aim to keep our quality high and our prices moderate — you shouldn’t have to break the bank to enjoy a delicious night out!
Are you open for all the performances at CTC?
We are, indeed! In fact, in addition to our year-round dinner menu (available from 4PM to 9PM), we will be open for lunch (11AM to 2PM) whenever there is a matinee at CTC, and we are proud to be hosting CTC’s “Drama for Dinner” function on July 25th (stay tuned for all the delectable details)!
What is your favorite dish at Wyld Thyme?
That’s a tough question — if I don’t love it, I don’t put it on the menu! Our Chevre, Cherry Tomato and Fresh Basil Tart and our Pulled Pork in Kale Cups are stand-out appetizers this summer, and in the entree section, the Grilled Salmon over Warm French Lentil Salad with Green Olive Tapenade and Creme Fraiche is over-the-top. Then again, our Filet and Fries with Bernaise Sauce is what I’d order if I wanted to break open a bottle of champagne, and the Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes takes comfort food to a dizzyingly delicious level!
Both Nick and I are big into sandwiches — Wyld Thyme’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich with Wyld Slaw and Sriacha Mayo is based on the #1 award-winning sandwich in Bon Appetit Magazine, and our Bahn Mi (with a choice of Asian-inspired pork, duck confit or seitan, along with pickled carrot, daikon radish and chili-lemongrass mayo) was inspired by my love of Asian cuisine. And since I have a notorious sweet tooth, I could make a meal out of every one of our desserts — you can’t beat Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Pudding Frosting on those days you have a chocolate craving, and the Strawberry Rhubarb Empanadas are outrageous. I guess one of the good things about being the owner is I don’t have to choose — I really CAN have it all!