You pretty much have to make a special trip to go to the Poolville Country Store in Earlville. It is off the beaten path and while it is only 10 minutes from Hamilton, you don’t just drive by it in the course of your daily routine. However, that trip will lead you down a culinary path that is truly special in its own right.
From the moment you walk in the double front doors you know you are in for an intimate and unique dining experience. The entry is furnished with leather couches and chairs and to the left is the small, but well stocked bar. It features many excellent wine and beer choices, and much like their menu many of the wines and beers are local products. With the growth of breweries and good wineries in this area the hope is source as many bottles from within 100 miles as possible.
The Poolville Country Store has been owned and operated by chef owners Charles Wilburn and Roger Foster for the past six years. Charles and Roger take great pride in sourcing many products as close to the restaurant as they can, even going so far as to buy the beef live on the hoof and then have it processed specifically for the needs of their restaurant. They also raise their own chickens for the meat and eggs, use vegetables straight out of their garden and use their own honey from bees they have on the property.
The menu changes on a regular basis to take advantage of the local foods that are available and in season. On the day we visited a sauteed zucchini flower was one of the locally sourced specials on the menu, with the flowers coming directly out of the restaurant’s own garden.
We enjoyed a couple of entrees on this visit. The first to catch our eye was the Mushroom Ravioli with a rustic tomato sauce. All of the pasta at the Poolville Country Store is handmade daily by chef Charles Wilburn and you can tell the difference from the boil in the bag variety we all cook at home. This ravioli was stuffed with locally sourced mushrooms and sausage. Of course the sausage was made from scratch too in the kitchen by Wilburn. (You can see a pattern developing here right?)
The second dish we decided to try was the freshly ground Local Burger. Wilburn told us that they haven’t always had a burger on the menu, but since they are now sourcing their beef locally they decided to add one. When you buy a cow, yes you get filets, steaks and chops, but you get way more ground beef than anything else. That means you need to get creative to use it all up. Enter the Poolville Country Store’s hand formed burger. Wilburn pan fries the burger and pairs it with hand cut fries, and homemade relish. Crispy onions, tomato and lettuce top the burger and it is on a fresh baked bun. The burger world has seen the bar raised over the past few years and this burger certainly stands up to some of the best I’ve had in any location.
You don’t often get the chance to walk in to a restaurant where you know that everything has been made from scratch. From the sauces, to the breads to the pasta, Foster and Wilburn are taking the extra effort to be exceptional. Your dining experience at the Poolville Country Store, if anything like ours, will be exceptional too.