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July 12, 2013

Sloan's serves steaks with local flavor

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Local food and local farms are the focus at Sloan’s N.Y. Grill, a new restaurant located in Oneonta’s West End.

Sloan’s opened July 1 in the 337 Chestnut St. location formerly occupied by the Ponderosa Steakhouse.

“It’s been very busy,” said owner Chris Sloan, “We’ve unfortunately had to turn people away every day that we’ve been open.”

Sloan’s features a traditional steakhouse menu, with a special attention paid to local meats and produce.

Sloan came up with the idea for Sloan’s with the restaurant’s head chef, Andrew Decker.

“This was a concept that Andrew and I had discussed a long time ago,” said Sloan. “We think that the consumer has a want to know where their food comes from.”

One of the motivators for Chris Sloan is being able to help out local farmers.

“If we can do our part to ... sustain them, everybody wins,” said Sloan. “By people supporting us, they support them as well.”

All pork and beef, with the exception of the pork and beef that goes into the smoker, is locally sourced and the animals are processed at Larry’s Custom Meats in Hartwick.

Most of this beef comes from the Fingerlakes region, but Sloan said that the restaurant recently purchased a steer from Jean’s Acres farm in Wells Bridge. He hopes to get more beef from the surrounding area in the future. 

Chris Sloan said that Sloan’s gets produce from Heller’s Farm in Bainbridge, and that 40 percent of the restaurant’s produce comes from a local source. He expects to increase this number to 75 percent by August. 

Sloan’s also features New York beers and wines. Sloan has not yet found a local source for poultry, but is interested in one. 

“Everything is made from scratch,” said Sloan. “We make our own sauerkraut, we cut our own french fries, our own onion rings, make our own salad dressings.”

Butchering is done in-house by Decker. Because of this, steaks are not listed on the menu, as the specific cuts available will vary by day. According to Sloan, the restaurant goes through two steers a week.

Sloan’s also features a retail meat counter, with all meat sold there coming from New York farms.

“We can promote the local product right here,” said Decker.

Entree prices at Sloan’s range from $8 to $25.

Chris Sloan admits that the opening hasn’t been without its problems.

“We’ve had a lot of hiccups along the way,” said Sloan, citing computer issues, food not getting to customers in a timely manner and a menu that started out too ambitious.

He adds, however, that they’ve been working through these problems, having trimmed down the menu, and streamlined the process of getting food to patrons.

He also says that the reaction to the food has been good.

“They can tell the difference,” said Sloan, referring to the New York beef.

Sloan grew up in Oneonta and has been in the restaurant business since he was a teenager. A manager at the Ponderosa from about 2000 to 2006, he was also the co-owner of The Depot restaurant for five years, selling his share in 2011.

The building that Sloan’s is located in is owned by Chris Sloan’s mother, from whom he is leasing it. He plans to take the property off her hands within three years.