With its truly fresh, house-made meals prepared with ingredients procured from local farmers and suppliers, d.i.g. Bistro is trailblazing the “farm-to-table” concept in Suntree. No microwaves, no fryers and no can openers are found in its kitchen — a point General Manager Cara Booth is eager to share with guests.
“Serving food that is locally grown is important to us for so many reasons,” says Booth. “First, it tastes amazing! It’s the freshest, most nutritious way to eat. Small farms tend to be less aggressive than larger farms when it comes to the use of chemicals.”
Booth is the daughter-in-law of Gina Pierce, owner of Tuscany Grill and now d.i.g. Bistro. Booth worked for Pierce at Tuscany Grill for years, and was ecstatic when her mother-in-law decided to leap into her latest restaurant venture.
In late January of this year, d.i.g. (an acronym for dirt-inspired goodness) officially opened its doors. And along with it came the culinary acumen and experience of Chef Dennis Lott, who has been the chef at Tuscany Grill since 2003. (He now serves as the chef of both eateries.)
Chef Lott and the team at d.i.g. developed the new restaurant’s menu to offer a little something for everyone. And while a good portion of its breakfast and lunch menu items are indicated to be vegetarian, the team behind d.i.g. doesn’t want their bistro to be classified as a “health food only” establishment. “While we do offer several healthier choices, you will certainly find butter and bacon on our menu,” says Booth.
Typical farms and suppliers d.i.g. turns to for its ingredients include Lake Meadow Naturals in Ocoee, which is called on to provide the bistro’s farm-fresh eggs; The Farm at Rockledge Gardens, which is typically d.i.g.’s source for fresh produce; and Winter Park Dairy, which is the bistro’s cheese supplier.
Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., although many of the morning menu’s items can be ordered at lunch. One of the most popular breakfast meals is the Blue Benedict, which consists of two poached eggs, local blue lump crab cakes, grilled tomato, arugula and tarragon-hollandaise over a toasted English muffin. “Clayton’s Seafood Market (in Rockledge) provides us with the local lump crab and the cakes contain no filler at all,” says Booth.
For d.i.g’s vegetarian visitors, the Pain Perdue is a palatable breakfast choice. Here, Challah French toast is stuffed with mascarpone cheese, then topped with a generous heaping of strawberries, bananas and honey-berry butter.
The lunch menu offers unique soups, salads and sandwiches. The Buckwheat salad, for example, consists of Soba noodles in a Thai chili vinaigrette, baby greens, Alfalfa sprouts, edamame and vegetables.
The bistro’s Beet Burger — roasted beets, ground walnuts, goat cheese, tomato and pickled red onion sand-wiched between a sliced Kaiser roll — is a favorite of Booth’s, not only for its taste, but also for the satisfaction it gives. Booth says it’s gratifying to watch guests who come in wanting a “real” burger order the Beet Burger skeptically, only to enjoy every last bite.
The organic coffee served at d.i.g. has also quickly risen to be a draw. It’s roasted locally at Java N’ Juice in Cocoa Beach. Organic teas and smoothies, as well as wines and sangrias, are offered as well.
The bistro itself is modern and eclectic, replete with lively and bright furnishings indoors and on its outdoor patio. Upbeat music wafts in the air. It also houses a small retail area, which soon will expand to include d.i.g. merchandise, as well as “grab-and-go” fresh-baked breads,muffins, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and more.