Chef Matt Buschle doesn’t like to take the easy way out. Two years ago at the height of the recession as restaurants were closing all over the area, Buschle decided it was a good time to open up his dream restaurant. Virgils Café (710 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, 859-491-3287) has been packed ever since. Customers have been drawn in by Buschle’s passion for food and commitment to serving the best available local products. He is taking his locavore approach to a new level in 2011. With the help of his landlord, he is creating a garden on land adjacent to his restaurant to grow all the produce that will be used at Virgils. He recently harvested his first crop of micro greens and intends to grow herbs, broccoli, tomatoes, okra and greens.
His passion also comes out through teaching. Virgil’s Web site (www.virgilscafe.com) has instructional videos from how to cook the perfect pasta to how to make the fresh breads that are served everyday in the restaurant. In addition, Buschle is now teaching culinary classes every Saturday in his kitchen. Sorry, but all currently scheduled classes are fully booked. Matt might not do things the conventional or easy way, but that’s to the benefit of his loyal customers.
CityBeat: Where was your last great meal and what was it?
Matt Buschle: Mayberry. I don’t get a chance to go out that often, but when I do I know that Josh Campbell knows what he is doing. Everything from soups to nuts is great if it is prepared by Josh.
CB: What has been the secret to your success?
MB: I try to be genuine about it and to get the customers to not take it all so seriously. The white tablecloths make people assume that we are fine dining, when in reality we are a local eatery with community regulars where I want everyone to feel comfortable and just sit back and enjoy their meal.