Partners Cathy Fletcher and Steve McCarthy have operated the Natural Gardens event center just outside of Delhi since 2014. Early this month, Fletcher saw a dream fulfilled with the center’s expansion into casual, farm-to-table dining and the opening of The Ponds Restaurant.
Named for the water features on the grounds, McCarthy said, the restaurant functions as a separate but corresponding part of the overall property at 304 Sutherland Road.
“The restaurant was more of a dream for Cathy,” he said, noting that she grew up in Delhi. “But in addition to the restaurant, we’re opening up a farm brewery and tasting room connected to it. That should all be open this summer and outside in the back we’ll have horseshoes, cornhole, croquet and a firepit.”
The restaurant and tasting room, McCarthy said, will showcase locally sourced products and ingredients, including many grown on site.
“We grow our own hops on the farm at Natural Gardens and we’ll be brewing our own beer,” he said. “In the tasting room, we’ll be carrying other farm breweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries and … later this year, we’re planning to set up an aquaponics system and greenhouse to start growing vegetables aquaponically.”
“Cathy does everything from scratch — pizza dough, pastas and she grinds her own meats,” he said. Fletcher is a graduate of the State University of New York at Delhi’s culinary and restaurant management programs.
McCarthy said The Ponds’ menu features American-style eats such as burgers and wings, with the occasional twist thrown in. The menu, he said, will change with the seasons.
“Cathy does like to make Mexican-style food in addition to our really American-type menu,” he said.
Early responses to such homemade, homegrown fare, McCarthy said, have been appreciative.
“We’ve had some reviews, and everyone is talking about the signature Pond Burger,” he said. “It’s pork, not beef, and everyone who’s tried it says that it is just over the top.”
“It’s been mainly people from the Delhi and Meredith area,” he said. “We haven’t had many tourists, but we expect that more in the summer. Most of the people are local and they’ve been thankful that there’s a restaurant here and they don’t have to drive to find a place to eat. This is a place for people to come, have very good comfort food with a full bar and just be able to relax inside or outside.”
The restaurant’s farm-to-table ideal, McCarthy said, is part of a larger vision for both the property and Delaware County.
“It’s all part of a long-term marketing plan,” he said. “Yes, we’re doing this and keeping food reasonably priced for local people, but we also need to bring in outside tourism and that’s one of our focuses. We want this to draw tourism to Delaware County and having all these different things … will create a point of interest for people.”
The Ponds Restaurant is open from 4 to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, with the bar remaining open, McCarthy said, until 11 or midnight.
For more information or to view a menu, find “The Ponds Restaurant” on Facebook, visit thepondsatnaturalgardens.com or call 607-746-6199.