Chef and restauranteur Karen Small is going back to her roots in her newest culinary endeavor—Juneberry Table
—opening today, Thursday, April 14 at 3900 Lorain Ave. in Ohio City.
Named for a North American indigenous berry that can be found in the Ohio River Valley, the Juneberry Table menu will continue to focus on Small’s commitment to using locally-sourced ingredients and purveyors, but with this endeavor she is focused on food she ate during her time in southeast Ohio—namely at her time at Ohio University and living in the region.
“I loved the resiliency and the resourcefulness of the people who have been down there for generations,” Small says. “That’s where I learned to garden. I learned from people how to grow a garden, how to live a little bit, how to live off the land. The experience really stuck with me”
She says its also where she developed her love of unprocessed foods, grains, and just good food. And that’s what Small plans to serve at Juneberry Table with a Southern Ohio and Appalachian-based menu featuring breakfast and lunch items.
For example, breakfast choices will include buckwheat flapjacks with maple sorghum butter, and fried ham biscuits and cornmeal waffles. Lunch options include pork and pinto bean chili, rice and salad bowls, and a stacked turkey sandwich on sourdough bread.
As a self-proclaimed morning person, the menu and the environment simply fit Small’s style. and she says Ohio City is the perfect location for Juneberry Table. “I love making sandwiches and I’ve always loved breakfast,” she says, “and I don’t think they’re represented strongly in a neighborhood that is growing so rapidly.
Additionally, Small says she intends to keep the menu focused on healthy eating—using local grains. Although there isn’t anything on the current menu, which will change seasonally, she sys they will try to accommodate the vegetarian and vegan diners.
“As we evolve, we’ll really try to meet the needs of the vegan and vegetarian communities,” she says. “We thought hard about what we would serve and dietary restrictions.”
Small says some of her favorite items include “pretty awesome” griddled hash browns, a breakfast brown rice porridge with Wild Glory rye toast, a trout salad, cinnamon coffee cake with crumble, and a cornmeal waffle with pickle-brined fried chicken.
“I kind of like everything right now,” she laughs.
A curated selection of cocktails and wines will be available—with cocktails named for their colors, and natural wines made with low intervention, made with low or little sulfites, and made by local farmers.
The small, 35-seat restaurant includes 10 stools along an L-shaped counter, and a bank of window seats overlooking Lorain Avenue. A cheery wall mural created by Charity D’Amato of Studio Chartreuse centers the restaurant, which is painted in warm neutral tones. Mirrors harness incoming light from the large street-front windows. Even the bathrooms have whimsical touches.
“It’s my nature,” Small says of the atmosphere. “I like small and intimate. I like it when you can be hands-on in all aspects of the kitchen.
After closing the Flying Fig in February (although she is making plans for a new concept in that location), Small says she is looking forward to the new pace the Juneberry Table.
“After 20 years at The Fig, there was always something happening,” she says. “I’m ready to work at a smaller, more intimate environment.”
Juneberry Table, 3900 Lorain Ave. is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Monday.