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Business Member Profile - The Millworks

The Millworks
Harrisburg, PA / Dauphin County
PASA Member Since 2015

Written by Debbie Yahnke

The Millworks restaurant opened in March 2015, right in the center of the emerging art district of Harrisburg, PA. Not only is it a restaurant, it’s also a hub for local artists and musicians. Owner Joshua Kesler wanted to appeal to both the art community and the greater community, as a whole, through food. What sets The Millworks apart is their commitment to sourcing locally. “85 percent of the menu comes from local farms in a 60-mile radius,” Kesler reports. Sugar, olive oil and salt are the exceptions. He prioritizes organic and sustainable practices when sourcing for the restaurant, to assure that the customer receives a good quality product. “Right now there are twenty farms that distribute to our restaurant, and we go to the farms to connect with the farmer and to make sure they use sustainable practices.”

The restaurant seats 150 people, making it one of the largest restaurants leading the farm-to-table movement. “Pennsylvania has a wealth of agriculture,” says Kesler. “I consider Pennsylvania the Tuscany of the east coast.” Not only is the food local, so are the beers and ciders. They offer a plentiful selection of beers and ciders, all from Pennsylvania--some well known names and others, not so familiar.

Sourcing locally also means that the availability of fruits and vegetables changes with the seasons. The Millworks’s approach to seasonality is a unique one. In the winter season, they resort to canning and jarring food, to maintain menu consistency and savor the season. “We’ve canned 1,000 pounds of tomatoes for sauces so that we can stick to the old ways of serving food.” So, coming this winter, customers can expect house-canned ingredients on the menu--a taste of seasons gone by.

Kesler and the Millworks team strive to provide the consumer with transparency about where their food is coming from. Sustainability wasn’t something Kesler wanted to throw around merely for marketing purposes. His priority is providing a high quality product and letting his customer know that’s what they are getting.

Their mission is to spend $1,000,000 on local farm products by the end of the first operational year; as of November 2015, they’re more than halfway there. Needless to say, The Millworks has hit a home run when it comes to serving sustainable food and supporting local agriculture.

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