A Taste of Saxapahaw: The Eddy Pub
By Leah Graff (2019)
Set on the banks of the idyllic Haw River in the quiet, quirky town of Saxapahaw is a farm-to-fork eatery that is serving up its own version of pub fair. The Eddy Pub, the name eddy referring to a resting place on the river, has been creating unique dishes ranging from classic southern comfort to European bistro delicacies. The restaurant opened in doors in 2010 with hopes to feel like ‘Saxapahaw’s living room.’
Eddy Pub is committed to using local, organic produce, as well as GMO-free protein and sustainably caught fish. A driving force behind this value for high-quality, nutrient rich ingredients is Executive Chef and local farmer Isaiah Allen. Allen’s passion for cooking and his dedication to the eat local movement and sustainable cuisine elevates the community culture in the Eddy. The restaurant engages its neighbors such as Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Left Bank Butchery, Saxapahaw Village Bakehouse and other local vendors by featuring their products on its menu.
The menu presents a variety of options laid out into several categories including cheese and charcuterie, small plates and sides, traditional pub fare, chef’s creations, and desserts. The kitchen also offers a daily dinner special, a separate brunch menu and an extensive wine and beer list.
As we walked into Eddy Pub on a late September evening, the comforting ambiance of the wooden tables and exposed brick drew us in, while soothing songs from a live guitarists echoed throughout the small restaurant. We sat in the corner next to a window overlooking the renovated river mill lofts across the quiet street and eagerly scanned the menu.
While it was surprising to see classic pub favorites like Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers & Mash on the same page as Korean dishes like a Fried Rice Bowl and Chicken & Pumpkin Dakjuk, it was clear that each dish supported locally and ethically sourced foods. I opted for a charcuterie and cheese board that featured several local meat and dairy farmers, a beer from the tap room just below the pub, and the special dinner entree consisting of fresh scallops and succotash.
The charcuterie and cheese board came out first, and although it was small, it was packed with flavor. The bacon jam and Goat Lady Dairy Chevre stood out as my favorites – the jam was the perfect combination of
sweet and savory, while the goat cheese was light and creamy. After washing down the appetizer with a crisp, hoppy Haw River Farmhouse IPA, my main course was served.
I have never not loved a scallops that I have eaten, and Eddy Pub’s scallops were no exception. The spicy succotash was an excellent contrast to the creamy, buttery fish. The texture of each bite was perfect, the flavors were vibrant.
I do wish that the dish had been warmer and I could have eaten several more scallops, but overall I was very satisfied with my meal.
I am eager to return to this Saxapahaw gem to experience more of Chef Allen’s culinary creations. The Eddy Pub is an essential component of the cultural rebirth that is putting this former mill town in rural piedmont North Carolina on the map.