by Maggie Bowling
For Kristin Smith of The Wrigley Taproom and Brewery, starting a restaurant is about using the whole hog and engaging the entire community. Not only is Kristin the mastermind behind the creative and delicious dishes coming out of the Wrigley kitchen, she is also the main producer of the meat served in the restaurant.
Her dedication to eating locally means that the restaurant strives to utilize every cut of meat and adjusts the menu nightly. Kristin explains, “To use the whole hog, and that’s what we’re getting, you have to change the menu. We have limited local food, so we have to use the whole hog; we have to use the whole beef. Like today, we used the ham hock in the soup beans.” Not only does this mean that the Wrigley’s menu is over 50% local even in the dead of winter, it also means that the menu options are always fresh and exciting.
Kristin was living in California when her family considered selling their 120 acre farm. She had nightmares for three nights thinking the farm would end with her generation. Kristin moved back home and her family’s farming legacy now continues with beef cattle and heritage hogs. Over the past few years, she has directly marketed her animal welfare approved meats to consumers through the Whitley County Farmers Market, and began using her meat to offer ready-to-eat meals to shoppers. Cooking for the Farmers Market allowed Kristin to use her culinary creativity and to experiment with potential restaurant menu options.
For Kristin and her business partners, Andy Salmons and John Baker, the urge to create a new business and a new vision for their hometown is nothing new.
The Whitley County Farmers Market served as a business incubator for their respective food businesses, Andy’s You & Me Coffee & Tea, John’s Oui Creperie, and Kristin’s Faulkner Bent Farm. After selling alongside each other at the market, their dream of opening a taproom with a full farm-to-table menu became a reality in late 2014.
After moving back to the farm Kristin “started eating completely locally. That is the way I live my life, and so I said that if we are going to do a restaurant, we are going to do it locally. Hopefully we can support other businesses and work to improve the area. I’ve invited all of the farmers in the area to show them the amount of food we order, to tell them that could be money in their pockets, and I want it in their pockets!”
Even though they’ve only recently opened, The Wrigley boasts an impressive local purveyor list for honey, sorghum, jams, chow chow, eggs, meat, veggies, and even ice cream. In addition, of their twenty four taps, ten of them can fill your glass with craft brews made right here in the Commonwealth.
If that isn’t impressive enough, Kristin, John, and Andy didn’t stop at food and drink when deciding to spend their money locally; even their beautiful salad plates and beer flight boards were made by local artisans. The tables are made from reclaimed wood from Kristin’s barn, and community members donated all of the chairs. The Wrigley Taproom and Brewery truly is a Kentucky Proud kind of place.
Remember Kristin’s heritage hogs? They are currently dining on the leftover veggie peelings she hauls home from the restaurant. You can’t get a more complete farm-to-table experience than that.
The Wrigley Taproom and Brewery is located at 207 S. Main Street in downtown Corbin. The restaurant and taproom are open Wednesday through Saturday.