‘Digging in’ at Dig Inn

Dig Inn is reinventing the wheel when it comes to “fast food.”

And it’s showing the local food scene that healthy doesn’t necessarily mean costly.

The farm-to-table-style eatery, which recently opened its 14th and first-ever suburban location in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye, offers tasty, satisfying dishes that are scratch cooked, using locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients. Its menu boasts breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch items, as well as seasonal selections, side dishes, alcoholic beverages, catering and takeout, and the chain’s first-ever kid’s menu. And with most dishes ranging in price from $6 to $13, it’s as cognizant of guests’ wallets as they are of their waistlines.

The vision behind Dig Inn is one that founder and CEO Adam Eskin describes as “disruptive” – to the food industry, that is. Rather than form relationships with standard supply chains, Dig Inn purchases its ingredients from local farmers and purveyors, like R&R Produce in Goshen, Suffolk County and Briermere Farms in Riverhead, while its grocery items are free of hydrogenated fats, artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and sugars, its proteins include hormone-free Angus beef and pork, cage-free eggs and wild-caught, Alaskan salmon, and its milk is from 100 percent grass-fed cows.

It’s a system that strives for overall net profit, meaning a positive impact on its guests and the surrounding communities, achieved through the conscious selection of its ingredients to make food a priority.

The ambiance of the 3,200-square-foot space – the largest Dig Inn to date – is reminiscent of a Brooklyn-style loft, integrating elements from its 13 metropolitan locations. Though the space, which fittingly incorporates earth tones and potted plants throughout, includes the most amenities of all the chain locations. This includes a deli counter, a vegetable charcuterie bar, a full-service bar with barstool seating, a dining area and a chef’s counter. Guests can conveniently order at the counter, watch their order being made from scratch, bring their tray to an open table and enjoy a quick meal. Or, they can opt for takeout or visit the deli for ready-made options.

When WAG arrived for the media preview two days before Dig Inn’s grand opening, we were immediately impressed by its size, along with the natural lighting from a large skylight overhead the dining area, which illuminated the entire space. Upon sitting, we were offered mimosas along with iced coffees served in quaint mason jars.

The tasty experience began with a sampling of “toasts,” which are bite-size pieces of toast with creamy toppings. The first was topped with combination of lemon ricotta, truffle, black pepper and honey, which proved particularly flavorful with a citrus aftertaste, followed by a blend of roasted pumpkin, pepitas seeds and chilies, an interesting contrast of sweet and spice. But the standout was the smoked whitefish with red grapes and soft herbs, which proved delicious, yet simple.

The afternoon followed with the chef’s selection of vegetable charcuterie, otherwise known as plant-based dishes. This included a Yukon gold potato terrine, with acme smoked salmon, crème fraiche and Mutsu apple; a celery root pastrami with house-made dill pickle and grainy mustard; Chioggia beet Carpaccio with winter cheese, yogurt dressing, pink peppercorn and arugula; and a parsnip marrow bone with celery leaf and black truffle. The result was an assortment of beautifully prepared mouthfuls, which combined everyday vegetables in innovative ways.

While waiting for the main course, we were treated to cheesy side dishes, which are always a WAG favorite. This included a serving of melted Brie cheese topped with pumpkin seeds and other spices and served with toasted bread, along with nontraditional mac n’ cheese made with ricotta and speckled with sweet potato crunches. These were nothing short of food knockouts, though cheese is hardly one to disappoint the taste buds.

The main course included two harvest bowls, which included an array of roasted vegetables with a protein – chicken for one, avocado and egg for the other – on a bed of brown rice, served with pumpkin and chia seeds and spices. The result was a mélange of pure flavors from the vegetables, which were the focus of both dishes. The bowls were prefixed courtesy of the chef, but Dig Inn allows guests to select their own ingredients, which include a base, two vegetables and a protein.

Though more than fully satisfied, we finished the afternoon with a shot of organic hot chocolate and a delicious cookie, which was a hearty medley of ingredients, from pumpkin and sesame seeds to raisins and chocolate bits.

It’s safe to say that WAG got the scoop on a new local hotspot, that’ll be particularly popular for the local lunch hour – especially ours.

Dig Inn is located at 112 S. Ridge Street in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Brook. For more, call 914-305-8463 or visit diginn.com.

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