Updated: Jun 26
It's lunch time. If you're like me, the fridge is pretty empty. If you're lucky maybe you have some slices of cheese and bread so you COULD make your own grilled cheese. However, what if you could just swing over to Madison, NJ and get one of the best grilled cheeses you've ever had in your life? Pair that with a homemade soup and you have it made!
Harvest Bistro has all that and way more. I've eaten there a few times, I've had sandwiches like their chicken finger wrap and the Harvest Cuban and I've sampled their soups like their classic tomato basil (I don't like tomato soup but couldn't stop eating this one) and their seasonal pumpkin soup with sausage. Everything has been delicious and how much Harvest Bistro's owner, Tushar Patel, cares about every ingredient and what goes on the plate that shines through in every bite. This almost sounds a little odd to say, but you can literally taste their motto "Fresh to Table" no matter what you're having.
I had known Tushar for a little over a year, but only virtually prior to interviewing him for the Greetings From the Garden State podcast. His shop, originally known as "On a Roll" for 21 years, rebranded in October 2017 to reflect the "changing of seasons" for Tushar both professionally and personally. Meeting Tushar in person you can feel how passionate he is about this place and how connected he is with the community. Being on Main Street in Madison for 25+ years can do that, there's always a lot going on and Tushar has established Harvest Bistro as a pillar in that community.
That does not come without its own challenges. Like many business over the last couple of years, labor and supply shortages have put a strain on the business and its staff. When we recorded Tushar was operating with three employees (including himself), running the restaurant and also picking up catering gigs for parties and celebrations. Some weeks they may have 20+ of those gigs, which calls for some crafty maneuvering but they have persevered.
Tushar told me during the interview why he changed the name to "Harvest Bistro." Bistro should be obvious, but it was the "Harvest" part that was the most important. He told me that the harvest is the hardest part of any farmer's life, but once it was done you get to reap the rewards. This particular harvest over the last two years may have been longer than any of us had expected, but with plans of expansion and an ever-evolving menu that reflects the seasons, I fully expect Tushar and Harvest Bistro to continue to flourish!
When it's this good, it just has to!