Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Barber Shop

This Pound Ridge family operates two of the most successful eateries in the region



Photo by Rana Faure

Nattily dressed in a crisp white shirt, gray vest, and houndstooth trousers, Pound Ridger David Barber welcomes a visitor to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, one of two farm-to-table restaurants he co-owns with his wife, Laureen, and his brother, the executive chef Dan Barber. After sampling fresh white-bean-and-cabbage soup from the kitchen, David, the trio’s financial strategist, leads the way to the bar, where fireside seating is a comfortably chic combination of upholstered sofas and leather armchairs.

Equally stylish in a sage green ensemble, Laureen arrives moments later, having stayed behind to get the couple’s two children off to school on this Friday morning before joining her husband at work. Laureen is the design director for Blue Hill, overseeing all aesthetics from interiors to website graphics to the restaurant’s signature glassware.

The team of Barbers began their careers as restaurateurs when David and Laureen joined Dan in the catering business he founded in Greenwich Village. “In 1999, we moved the kitchen into a space we rented near NYU and decided we’d use the front as a little neighborhood bistro to help cover the rent. It was an incredibly naive way to enter the restaurant business, but we started getting a lot of attention,” David explains. “The rapid interest in what Dan was doing with food and our connection with farms surprised us and brought in the likes of David Rockefeller.”
Rockefeller, the grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was so impressed by the quality of the food and the partners’ commitment to locally sourced ingredients that he eventually offered them the use of his family’s 80-acre dairy farm in Westchester as a location for a second Blue Hill restaurant. Together with Rockefeller, the Barbers founded the non-profit Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which has since become host to a working farm, an education center, an event facility, and the Barbers’ award-winning, for-profit restaurant.

Housed in one of several renovated Norman-style stone barns, Blue Hill’s interior is a blend of rusticity and modernism. Every item, from dishware to paper goods, is custom-designed or chosen to feel fresh and cutting-edge, just like the food.

After nearly ten years, the Barbers have come to realize that the strength of Blue Hill at Stone Barns lies in the relationships it has with the other entities on the campus. “I just walked in through the kitchen and there was the farmer with the chef tasting ingredients,” Laureen describes. “That happens all the time, and for some people that might not seem remarkable, but it always puts a smile on my face, and I can see they’re enjoying themselves, too.”

“That collaboration makes us different,” David acknowledges. “Every time there is a challenge, the restaurateur has an opinion, the farmer has an opinion, and the educator has an opinion. We’ve learned to sit down and work together on what is best for this place long-term. There are many decisions we would have made differently, as restaurateurs, had we not developed empathy for the work involved in agriculture or in planning an education program.”

Blue Hill at Stone Barns has committed to a no-waste policy, which means that the restaurant purchases all of the farm’s unsold harvest at wholesale prices. “In order to buy that way from a farm and to maintain a viable business, we had to move away from having menus. We needed the flexibility to work through the inventory,” he explains. So the team shifted the way they and their staff talk to customers about what they will be eating. Instead of a traditional menu with many specific dishes to choose from, guests now receive a notebook listing what ingredients are available from the fields, pastures, or root cellars that month. The employees have been trained in the art of conversation, so that they can discuss customers’ preferences and then serve as liaisons between the customers and the kitchen to facilitate a unique culinary experience.

“The customers really give themselves up to it,” Laureen says. “They come early, to tour the grounds and the buildings, trying to get a greater experience than just the dining room. We’re special, in large part, because of the farm, and maybe that’s where the world has moved in the last ten years, too. People want to learn and to know. And, because they also want to share, we offer them a notepad for jotting down observations.”

By every week’s end, the Barbers transition from their Manhattan apartment to the 1937 stone Georgian they bought in Pound Ridge. “We started searching for a home in Chappaqua and Pleasantville to be close to the restaurant, but once David brought me to Pound Ridge, where his grandfather lived years ago, the search was over,” Laureen explains. The couple’s two sons have since become so active on the local Little League and basketball teams, that the family treks here mid-week for practices and to grab a quick bite at local eateries, like Kicho, Meetinghouse, Table Local Market, and 121. Their country house, formerly owned by designer Vera Wang’s family, is one of Laureen’s favorite places to cook.

Living above their Greenwich Village restaurant makes commuting home for family dinners on weeknights easy, and the couple have made a commitment to break bread together on weekends, as well. Laureen, who grew up on home cooking, is the head chef at home. “My mother and my grandmother were very good cooks, and I was required to cook. So I learned, and I’m very grateful for that,” she says. “David’s mother died when he was young, so he grew up eating well in restaurants. While he had a much more adventurous culinary background than I did, the marrying of our two experiences directly benefits our kids, who are terrific eaters.”

By the end of the day, the boys have arrived at Stone Barns and subsequently ventured off to visit the farmers. Trading haute cuisine for a basket full of fresh produce, Laureen collects her family, and as they drive north through Bedford, talk inevitably turns to the evening’s homemade feast. The menu is democratically decided upon (summer squash tart, fresh tomatoes with feta and mint as a salad, and some grilled shrimp and vegetables, tossed with lemon, olive oil, and fresh herbs), and the weekend begins.

Bill Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Road,
Pocantico Hills, NY
bluehillfarm.com

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Renewed Focus

The Bedford Post's two restaurants merge local farms with fine dining

Market Driven

The Happiness Is Back Market and Café offers tasty food inside and out

Bowled Over

Great places to get the popular, delicious and healthy Acai bowls in the Bedford area

Updating an Old Classic

The Roger Sherman Inn welcomes celebrity chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo

Modern Italian Cuisine

Stone Fire is traditional Italian with a twist

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Come sing with Westchester’s highly acclaimed community chorus, Hudson Chorale. The group is welcoming new members in all voice parts (SATB) to join them for an exciting concert season that...

Cost: Free to audition

Where:
Pleasantville Presbyterian Church
400 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY  10570
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 914-478-0074
Contact Name: Jeanne Wygant
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us as we tee off to create a brighter future for children in need at the 2018 Save the Children Golf Classic presented by PVH Corp. This year at Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings, NY...

Cost: $1,000 per person

Where:
Saint Andrew’s Golf Club
10 Old Jackson Ave
Hastings on Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Copland House at Merestead opens it's season with a glittering, intimate journey into the life of the charismatic  conductor and composer, and a sold-out smash at its Lincoln  Center...

Cost: $25

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The 58th annual Lewisboro Library Fair is Saturday, September 22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Onatru Farm Town Park (99 Elmwood Road in South Salem). The Fair features huge Book, “Attic Treasures”...

Cost: free

Where:
Onatru Farm Town Park
99 Elmwood Road
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
Website »

More information

Legendary journalist Lesley Stahl will lead a special one-on-one event with former sex-crimes prosecutor turned BEST – SELLING crime novelist, Linda Fairstein. From the unsolved cases that keep...

Cost: $40

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags