Chef Charles Youts curates a menu of what he dubs “new American cuisine”—a culinary school that emphasizes farm-to-table dishes made from produce and meats sourced as locally as possible. Youts and his staff members cultivate an organic garden outside that acts as the chef's pantry, where they pick tomatoes, melons, peppers, and herbs minutes before they appear in entrées, a practice that gives dishes bright and complex flavor profiles. Based on what’s ripe in the garden, Youts writes up microseasonal dishes that back up menu mainstays such as radiatore with applewood-smoked salmon and tomatoes.
For carnivores, several cuts of beef from a 14-ounce ribeye to 10 ounces of beef-tenderloin medallions complement sauces that include horseradish cream and blue-cheese crust with port shallots. The Classic Cafe also produces homemade sausage that appears in a mixed grill dish with lamb, beef tenderloin, and a huckleberry demi-glace. A wine list that won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator complements the fare with biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wines.
The Classic Cafe’s interior balances rustic, elegant, and casual motifs with a burgundy and hewn wood bar beside a cluster of tables outfitted in white and maroon cloths. Paintings of wine by local artist Carolyn Riegelman hang in the dining room and above an intricate wrought-iron table at the entrance. Outside, a patio ringed in trees and flowers creates a pastoral atmosphere as diners look out onto the garden, where chickens peck and gangs of jack-o'-lanterns bully straight-laced pumpkins. On the patio, the restaurant also holds monthly cooking classes on seasonal topics that range from seafood prep and South American cuisine to cooking with the fall harvest.