Dec. 7, 2019 — "Food is my passion for sure, but more than that, my passion is for taking care of people,” Nosh Eatery owner Kady Sneddon said about her small-plate restaurant on Bay Street. “I want to feed people, nourish them, make them happy.”
For Sneddon, there are multiple ways that small plate dining can bring happiness to diners.
“It’s versatile,” she said, pointing out that many of her customers aren’t familiar with the concept. “They go, ‘Oh, I was looking for a meat and potatoes type of deal.’ You can get that here — you just have to order it in two or three smaller dishes.”
For example, you can order the Nosh specialty meatloaf sliders and a side of parmesan French fries, a twist on the classic Americana fare. But why put on the limits? Instead of fries, what about zucchini fritters with ranch, or the balsamic roasted mushrooms and polenta? Or switch out the sliders with the root beer braised beef short rib.
“You can come in with eight people and order everything on the menu, trying a little bit of everything and having a real great time, or just maybe get a cup of tea and donut holes and just read your book,” Sneddon said.
For the team at the restaurant, Nosh is a conversation between the diners and the kitchen. Sneddon and her crew offer what they love about dining, and the diners get to discover that love on their own terms. It’s a conversation about what makes food special.
“I do really think that’s the sole reason for me buying the restaurant and operating it the way that I do,” said Sneddon. “Yes, food is a passion for me, but I really love making sure the diners have this beautiful space to come to. We’re all like this family, in a weird way.”
Everyone is a restaurateur in a small plate diner, and the variety is limitless. But simply offering variety is not what Nosh is about.
“Honestly, I think a huge part is that we make everything from scratch,” Sneddon explained. “When you come in and you’re having this experience, if you’re getting something that’s well thought out and well planned, something we put love into, I think that’s what it’s about.”
The Nosh aesthetic doesn’t come from opening a heap of prepackaged food and putting it together in interesting ways.
“We have a lot of local partners and farms,” she said. “It’s just exciting to have someone come by every Tuesday with kale or squash that they picked from their garden that morning, and I get to play and be inspired by it.”
Every week is an adventure in forming the fresh hauls into something delectable from scratch. “Then you’re really proud of the product at the end. You’ve literally made every aspect of it,” said Sneddon.
The kitchen is constantly creating because of the fresh offerings. There’s the daily specials, such as lobster rolls. “But a lot of new things are born out of the fun I have in the kitchen and go, ‘This really works, it’s a product that we can sell and people like it, so let’s put it on the menu,” Sneddon said.
This led to a one-time special that has become a house specialty — the mac and cheese, “scratch made to order with Tillamook Reserve sharp cheddar,” upgrade to Rogue blue cheese optional.”
Traditionalists can stick with the original, but the point of small plate dining is to branch out to the new. Diners can have their mac served with shredded beef short ribs, mushrooms and bacon, pork chili verde or even fried Brussels sprouts and sriracha.
And then there’s the Brussels sprouts, sautéed with olive oil, garlic and butter.
“That’s our number one seller,” said Sneddon. “We have people who grew up hating Brussels sprouts come in here, and they’ll only eat them when we make them.”
It’s that sense of discovery in which Nosh celebrates not just the perfectly made dishes that its diners eat, but the people who come through its doors.
“It’s the love of food, camaraderie and fellowship,” Sneddon said. “Just having that lovely time and bonding over pork chili verde.”