Squirrelled away in Jennerstown, The Fat Squirrel Ice Cream & Eatery aims for ‘fine dining’
When Susan Kroft and her husband, Chad Miller, of Stoystown, Somerset County, considered names for the new restaurant Kroft was opening, a chubby critter in their yard gave them an idea.
“We were sitting on the porch, trying to decide what to name it. We have a fat squirrel on our property,” Kroft says.
They watched him eat a mushroom cap, and the humorous name was born.
Kroft opened The Fat Squirrel Ice Cream & Eatery in April in Jennerstown. Ice cream is locally sourced from Vale Wood Farms in Cambria County, she says.
Kroft, a longtime chef, says she had considered opening her own restaurant for a while when the former ice cream stand came on the market.
“It just kind of got into my brain. It’s the perfect size, not too many seats. You don’t have to be too big for your britches,” she says. Kroft has a staff of about 10 and does most of the cooking herself.
The restaurant is open year-round, with seasonal patio seating and interior seating for 36.
A former executive chef at Green Gables Restaurant in Jennerstown, Kroft says she likes the idea of bringing fine dining sensibility to foods everyone can afford.
“I tried to formulate a menu that would have something for everyone,” she says.
She offers “snacks,” from deviled eggs to Greek nachos to pimento cheese, bacon jam and grilled bread, “Greens & Grains,” with a Pittsburgh Salad, Caesar, smoked beet and feta, quinoa, lentil and spinach bowl and cauliflower, kale and farro bowl, soups and a “chipmunks” (children’s) menu.
“Our gravies, salad dressings and sauces are all home-made,” Kroft says.
“Large plates” include seared pork chop and house made pierogis, pasta with house-made Bolognese, salmon, strip steak and pork belly or cornmeal crusted catfish tacos.
Among the most popular dishes are an open face sandwich of meatloaf on macaroni and cheese waffles and a roasted chicken, avocado and feta baguette, she says.
Her husband, also a chef, took over the dessert menu, which can include carrot cake and snickerdoodle peanut butter pie.
Located at 1302 W Pitt St., the restaurant opens daily at 11:30 a.m., closing at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 9 p.m. the rest of the week, closed on Tuesday.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.