I’m a firm believer that anyone can improve in any skill they want to through hard work and practice – especially cooking. For the past few years, I’ve been intentionally trying to improve my kitchen abilities through YouTube videos, trial and error, and lots of “almost there” meals. However, when it comes to cooking Southern food, there’s always something missing at my final plating. I imagine others feel my frustrations. It’s never just like grandma used to make. I come from a family of miners and farmers, so I’ve experienced my fair share of Southern food. In retrospect, the food seems to be much more than just a plate of biscuits and gravy, grits, pork chops, or whatever it may be. Southern food is wound up in memories with family and friends, and transferred through generations on pieces of faded papers, or just good taste memory. So, when a restaurant is able to take the elusive and expanding nature of good Southern cooking, and make it modern, they’ve achieved something truly impressive.
Iron Horse Restaurant in Ashland (100 S. Railroad Ave.) has taken those meals and experiences, and they’ve added their own professional spin on it. Everything is served seasonally, as it should be in good Southern cuisine. And with Hanover’s peak tomato season just around the corner, you can expect some good food stewing up in the kitchen at Iron Horse. General Manager Rusty Stone makes sure to let people know that their kitchen staff is well equipped for the challenge of professionally preparing good Southern cuisine. “It’s a menu that’s built around Southern-American cuisine, with fully thought out dishes, and a good background of French technique,” he says, adding that you can have a great crew when it comes to food prep, but they also need to keep the Southern hospitality that comes with food in a Southern kitchen. They’re professionally trained, and they’re “fun and easy going, and they have extensive knowledge of the menu, of wine service, and of the community.”
If you’re excited for some Southern food, your seasonal options at Iron Horse are fairly broad, and I’m sure there’s something that will remind you of down-home cooking. Rusty says you can find, “anything from lighter, fresher summer ingredients to fresh locally sourced steaks and seafood on the entree side of the menu with seasonal vegetables.” So, if you’re like me, and haven’t quite mastered your family’s favorite Southern recipes, head over to Iron Horse. I couldn’t find a better way to sum up the experience at Iron Horse thanks to the crew at Iron Horse than from the words of Rusty himself, “These guys are top-notch.”