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  1. Tuesday, July 16, 2024

  2. Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Taste of 21c: Spring Food Trends


Warmer weather, spring showers and abundant sunshine mean an influx of fresh produce hitting the kitchens at the farm-to-table restaurants of 21c. Here’s what 21c chefs and bartenders are excited about this SPRING:

Inspired by Southern traditions and family picnics, Josh Munchel, executive chef of Counting House, gives an old favorite a new twist. His take on classic potato salad features roasted fingerlings, pickled mustard seeds, shaved shallots and smoky egg. Thai basil, from local producer Susan Anderson of East Branch Ginger, brings a bright and spicy finish to this picnic staple.

Proving the Easter bunny isn’t the only game in town, executive chef Mike Wajda of Proof on Main is kicking off spring with Rabbit Cannelloni, complete with asparagus, carrot, spring onions and rye.

Housemade lamb bacon will show up throughout the menu at Metropole at 21c Cincinnati, like in the Spring Frittata. Chef Jared Bennett has also dug up a Spring Onion Gratin that’s slow cooked with lemon, garlic and thyme. Artichoke en Barigoule has landed on the menu at The Hive where chef Matt McClure adds tangy, sumac-seasoned, roasted chicken,.

At 21c’s newest restaurant, Lockbox in Lexington, Kentucky, executive chef Jonathan Searle is just getting started. From colorful ramps, to bushels of spring garlic and lettuces, Chef Searle is focused on finding ways to elongate the season through preservation and building long-term partnerships with area farmers and purveyors..

Just in time for some skyline sunsets, Cocktail Terrace at 21c Cincinnati is open for the season, and with it, patio season-worthy drinks, like Dill Next Time, which includes a lemon dill shrub made with juniper and mace.

In Durham, bartenders at Counting House are experimenting with peppers, but not necessarily for the heat. Peppers like Aji, Fresno and Tobago bring a natural sweetness, earthiness and freshness that make them wonderful in cocktails.

Spring means Kentucky Derby season in Louisville, and mint juleps are the quintessential toast of the town. This year, Proof on Main bartenders spiced up their mint julep with cayenne syrup and dry curacao.

Patio-sippers are top of mind for bartenders at Lockbox. They created a cocktail made with Elmwood Inn Tea’s Blueberry Infusion, shaken with Copper & Kings Brandy, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, and a tad of demerara sugar for an ice-cold, herbaceous sipping cocktail with a mild, tannic finish.


  • Visit Metropole to sample the newest spring dishes, and if you’re a home cook, try your hand at the recipe, found here!
  • Visit Proof on Main to get a jump start on Derby drinking, with this spin on the mint julep.
  • Visit The Hive to dig into the latest spring produce from the Northwest Arkansas region
  • Visit Counting House to turn up the heat on your usual cocktail hour
  • Visit Lockbox to explore seasonal menus at our newest 21c restaurant