Last month, Pennswood Village unveiled a new dining experience for its residents—a fine-dining concept dubbed 1382.
The restaurant is part of recent renovations at the Pennsylvania senior-living facility, which include new apartments, a bar and a fast-casual cafe. 1382 is open two days a week, featuring classic fare with a modern twist.
The goal behind the restaurant, according to Executive Chef Edward Bremme, was to introduce new foods to residents while showcasing culinary expertise.
In addition, Bremme sees it as an opportunity to expand residents’ palates, providing them with an experience they couldn’t get elsewhere. The restaurant has a slower pace, and Bremme encourages guests to take their time with their meals. “What inspired me particularly here was to be able to have that opportunity and ability to push the limits in a sense that we’re in a Quaker community—they love great staple food, comfort food,” he said. “But now that I’m doing demos and educating the residents on new cuisine, they are open to trying new things.”
A sophisticated menu
The concept’s menu is a la carte and made to order. Diners can opt for dishes such as an heirloom chicken breast stuffed with pears, fresh spinach and Parmesan cheese, or a reverse-seared ribeye steak topped with fresh garlic cloves and thyme, and finished with demi-glace. Other options include seared scallops and bruschetta.
1382 also offers a weekly special based on what the community’s vendor has on offer that week. One that was particularly popular with residents was veal marsala.
“The flavors were all there, it was just a very good dish,” said Bremme. “The residents couldn’t stop eating it, so they spread the word, and the next day, we came very close to running out.”
Going forward, Bremme intends to menu soft shell crabs and wild boar as specials. He noted that these dishes are not easy to make and having the support of his team is what makes this sort of exploration possible.
“Having a great culinary team behind me allows me to do these dishes that, quite frankly, would intimidate a chef on his own,” he said. “But to have your team around you that’s bouncing and, you know, a very outgoing and open community, allows me to push the envelope and really showcase some great cuisine.”
Prior to the grand opening, the restaurant held a test run that sparked positive feedback from residents, said Bremme. Since then, the input has been nothing but positive. Bremme recalled a guest who joked that they needed to be wheeled out of the restaurant because the food was so good, they just couldn’t stop eating.
A look behind the scenes
What also gives 1382 its edge is the way the kitchen is run, said Bremme, who joined Pennswood Village about three years ago as a sous chef.
Since then, he has implemented a French brigade style of kitchen operations, giving each team member distinct roles and responsibilities.
In Bremme’s kitchen, roles align with those in a traditional French kitchen, such as a chef de cuisine, sous chef and a chef de partie. Bremme is currently in the process of hiring another team member who would play multiple roles, such as lead ware washer or prep cook.
The goal behind switching to this style of operations was to ensure Bremme, as the executive chef, would have the opportunity to better support the rest of his team in their various venues.
“Were getting back to the basics and to the roots of classic culinary cuisine with, like, a new modern twist,” he said. “But this allows me to kind of keep my team engaged and really get excited to take on some more responsibility, so I can support them a little better instead of trying to be in seven different venues all at once.”
Moving forward, Bremme hopes to offer more experiences, including tableside service where a team member crafts menu offerings, such as Caesar salad, right in front of guests.
He also plans to eventually open the restaurant four days a week, but wants to cap it there. “I don’t want to do it every day because I want it to be a special experience, a special venue,” he said.
One challenge has been training enough servers to expand the concept’s hours. Despite this, Bremme said his team has been successful in reaching its goals.
“We wanted to be able to offer the type of service that we set ourselves out to do,” he said. “We do have some room for improvement, but I think, overall, I’m proud of what the front of the house and back of the house are doing at this point.