Pioneer Street Restaurant strives to locally source food, reduce waste

Amanda M. Rye


RIDGEFIELD — Jeff and Johanna Herron opened their new downtown Ridgefield restaurant, Pioneer Street Restaurant, on Friday in the space formerly occupied by Pioneer Street Cafe & Bakery, 207 Pioneer St. The new restaurant serves breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday. The menu transitions from breakfast to lunch at 11 a.m. When its license to serve beer and wine is granted, it will also serve dinner featuring Italian classics, such as chicken Marsala and chicken Castellana, and steak.

The Herrons met while Jeff worked as a chef and Johanna as a waitress at Vallata, an Italian fine-dining restaurant in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2000. After they met, Jeff continued to pursue his culinary career and discovered a passion for sourcing local ingredients. Johanna worked as a waitress and bartender through college. After earning a Master of Science in community nutrition from University of Alaska Fairbanks, she established farm-to-school programs and helped small farmers grow their businesses so they could sell to restaurants, retail and international markets.

The couple moved from Fairbanks to Ridgefield with their children in July 2020. When they learned that the Pioneer Street Cafe & Bakery was for sale, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pursue Jeff’s dream of owning his own restaurant.

The Herrons will implement two new programs that may not be obvious to diners.

They will create a business model that reduces waste.

“There are two purposes to the waste-reduction program,” Johanna Herron said. “First, it’s good not to waste, and second, it’s hard for restaurants to stay open because of cost. In the long term, if you shift the way you think about things, you can save.”

This shift in thinking starts with portions meant to be a satisfying meal to the customers when they dine at the restaurant with no leftover food to be thrown out or taken away in plastic containers. This program will evolve as the owners get a better sense of what diners want. To help reduce food waste, Pioneer Street Restaurant offers a build-your-own breakfast with a la carte sides, such as a fruit bowl ($4), two pancakes ($5) and house potatoes ($4) that allows customers to custom design a meal that fits their appetite.


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