He studied sustainability in the now closed New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, and learned firsthand from his wife and family about Appalachian food culture, which is that nothing goes to waste. He incorporates that knowledge into the tavern and sources 90 percent of his food from Virginia farms. Pickling and preserving also feature prominently at the tavern.
The outside world has taken notice. In 2019, the tavern earned a snail food‘s Snail of Approval, an appellation that recognizes restaurants focused on ethical and local ingredients. Rabin places more importance on the basics.
“Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get more awards and more notoriety and all that,” he said. “But at the end of the day, if I can’t cook the food or get my staff and I to cook the food consistently and correctly and really have the vision that we share on the plate and make it obvious to our guests, then no matter how many awards have”.