CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Aesop's Fable , a nature-inspired farm-to-table restaurant, is opening in Chappaqua in July.
But first, there will be time to sample its wares at a pop-up event Saturday, June 24 starting at 6 p.m.
The former Mario's Pizza of Chappaqua has been transformed into a rustic, garden-party-style space with indoor/outdoor seating -- think wood tables, olive-green walls, and a 60-seater backyard filled with 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 50 basil plants and rows of snap peas, squash, zucchinis, cucumbers and green beans -- all organic.
The area also features a five-foot firepit and tiki torches.
The goal, according to Chef Matthew Cook, is to offer eclectic, seasonal fare in a healthy and positive manner, locally sourced from farms no more than 100 miles away. That philosophy extends to the bar menu where seasonal craft cocktails will be front and center, along with an organic juice bar.
Cook, who grew up maple sugaring in Vermont and eating veggies plucked from his parent's garden, said he wants to bring that sense of nature to Chappaqua.
"I've been cooking since I was 15-years-old and this is my dream concept," said the chef, who's worked throughout Miami and Manhattan, most notably at The Fat Radish, The Leadbelly, Sonnier & Castle, Soho Grand, and Salumeria Rossi.
In Chappaqua a month so far -- his partner in Aesop's Fable is Tony Veshta, who has headed Mario's for the last 20 years -- Cook has literally been building the restaurant tables himself, doing interior work, and minding the garden.
He's also been planning the menu: 20 tapas-style dishes under $10, half of which will be built around a specific vegetable.
There will also be wood-fired pizza -- 10 to 12 personal pies with everything -- from the ricotta to the basil, made in house. Mozzarella will be hand-stretched.
Larger plates will also have a starring role. Many items will be gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Go HERE for a sample dinner menu.
Because everything will be seasonal, the menu will change every two to three months. Cook said he and Veshta are partnering with almost 100 farmers between the Northeast and surrounding states.
As for the meaning behind the restaurant's name?
"Aesop's Fable is a collection of stories that have been passed down by generations for 2,000 years," explained Cook. "Our goal is to bring traditional dining back like it was in the old days.
'We've become a society of 'dine and dash.' What we want here is for people to sit down and break bread over true food that's not commercialized."
Taste for yourself at the June 24 event which will feature a sneak preview of the restaurant's cocktails along with a select preview of Cook's menu.