Anything goes in The Bistro at the Village Green.
An upscale meal in the private dining room is a great setting for a fancy evening out or a special occasion, but you're also more than welcome to turn on the game while eating your Sunday brunch.
Stop in for a coffee and hop on the free Wi-Fi, or enjoy a concert on the patio during the summer months.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
The Bistro at the Village Green’s Executive Chef Joby Dick conducts a cooking class at the restaurant.
No matter what you do, or what your tastes are, this establishment will accommodate your culinary and atmospheric needs.
"We offer an upscale feel, the service of an upscale restaurant, but in a very comfortable, relaxed environment," said Jaime McKee, marketing director for the Village at Morrisons Cove. The Bistro at the Village Green is affiliated with the Village. "We don't ever want someone to be driving down the road in jeans and a T-shirt and go, 'Let's go to The Bistro,' [but think] they're not dressed right. That's not how it is. We want you to bring your family. We want you to bring your kids. We want you to come in your jeans or cut-off shorts or flip flops.
"Our philosophy is if you're paying for a dinner, it's our job to give you your money's worth - not just the food, but the whole experience."
The Bistro at the Village Green
Address: 403 Village Way, Martinsburg
Phone number: 793-5234
Hours: Breakfast served from 8 to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday; Lunch served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Dinner served from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Price Range:?$2 to $27
Specialties: Sunday brunch buffet, all-you-can-eat fish fry Fridays and comfort foods
Seating capacity: 140 total, with a 14-person private area available for reservation
Reservations: Taken, but not required
The Bistro opened two years ago, and though it is on the home's campus, it has always been stand-alone from the nursing home and meant to be open to and serving the public. The only difference between it and any other restaurant is where the proceeds go - toward residents who can't afford to pay for their care without assistance.
"[The Village at Morrisons Cove] operates on about a 75 percent Medicaid or medical assistance occupancy rate, which is extremely high for the area," McKee said, adding that the home gets much less of a reimbursement from these residents than they would if they were paying privately. "Because we have so many people in the nursing home who are on assistance, we have to somehow make other funds to keep the nursing home going and to be able to continue that mission to care for people without resources."
Because of this, Natalie Baker, the Village Green coordinator, said she always tells people who come into the restaurant that they're "eating for a reason."
"You don't just come in for a good meal," she added. "You can feel good about what you're paying us and what you're doing because it's going to help people who need it."
Chefs at The Bistro like to make sure that guests leave the restaurant with more than just a clear conscience. Executive Chef Joby Dick said the dinner menu boasts high-end items, like turkey Devonshire and ahi tuna, and comfort foods like meatloaf, chicken & waffles and country-fried steak.
"We wanted to do a little bit of an upscale [menu], but in a small town like this, you're forced to acknowledge the fact that you're in a small town," Dick said. "We have some items on the menu that we've gone the extra mile to make them upscale, and then we've designed part of the menu around the locals."
What makes staples like their Cobb salad, reuben and buffalo chicken wrap stand out are the fresh ingredients and from-scratch preparation used whenever possible, Dick said. Homemade salad dressings and hand-rolled pasta are not hard to come by at The Bistro.
"All of our ingredients come fresh right to our door," Baker said. "We do try to use a lot of local vendors so people in the community can feel good about that, that they're supporting the community."
Wayne Cooke of Martinsburg has been eating at The Bistro since the first few months it was open. He said the fresh ingredients and the innovative dishes make it so that he wished he had more opportunities to go.
"They are a welcome addition to this community," he said.
Cooke is hard-pressed to name a favorite dish at The Bistro, saying he's never had a meal he didn't like. He said he regularly goes for dinner, Sunday brunches or business luncheons.
Cooke has also been to several of The Bistro's chef's tables, a special offering where for a flat rate of $28 per person, a five-course meal will be prepared based solely on your own personal tastes.
"We take a few minutes and feel you out, get to know you, find out what you like and what you don't like," Dick said. "I will throw a few things in the air that might have nothing to do with your meal, just to feel you out and what you find as flavorful. Then we go back and do a five-course meal for you based off of that couple minute conversation. We make it a very personalized experience."
The Bistro also puts on several other special events throughout the year. Probably the most popular are the cooking classes, where a demonstration of the preparation of a five-course meal will center around a theme, usually of a certain country. Last week, Dick took the audience to Poland to sample made-from-scratch pierogies and poppy seed rolls for dessert. All in attendance get to sample the dishes, and leave with recipe cards so they can prepare the gourmet meal at home.
"It's great for people in the audience, they get to ask questions and Joby can to explain something to them personally," Baker said. "At the end, he even says 'Call me if you can't figure it out and I'll walk you through it.'"
Kelly Adams of Altoona was invited to one of The Bistro's cooking classes by a friend, and enjoyed it so much that she and a group of about 12 stay-at-home moms now try to go to each one.
"I thought it was great," she said. "I loved the food and I loved that they came out with different ideas and suggestions."
Adams also brought her young daughter to a screening of "The Polar Express" held in December. Bistro chefs prepared a children's menu to accompany the movie, and staff members even acted out a few scenes. A similar screening of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" will take place at 6 p.m. March 2 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. March 3.
McKee said the special events are meant to encourage people to come in and see that The Bistro fosters a fun atmosphere.
"There's something for everybody," Baker added. "There's something going on that's going to suit your taste."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.