We’re thrilled to have restaurants back, but we’re especially grateful for the Lovin’ Oven, in Frenchtown. Throughout the Delaware River Towns, we’re blessed with a bounty of uniquely talented chefs and committed farmers and a growing resolve among them to support each other. But the Lovin’ Oven remains the brightest star when it comes relentlessly creative food crafted from the brightest local ingredients.
There have been moments this summer when life almost felt normal. If you put your phone down and focused on what was right in front of you, you could forget about everything else. But, far more often, the surrealness of living through a pandemic intervenes. You catch yourself explaining to your kids, for the millionth time, why they can’t see their friends or grandparents. And, if you’re not vigilant, the days will blend together.
But the sense of a summer lost would be much more profound without the Lovin’ Oven. Where some restaurants boast that their menu changes with the seasons. At the height of summer (like, now), the Lovin’ Oven’s menus change by the week. And in that way, they’ve become the connection for many of us to the farms that surround us.
If their Instagram feed doesn’t make you feel deeply grateful to be living here at any given moment (or, at least, visiting), we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore. Case in point:
- Heirloom tomato, peach, and corn salad with olives, burrata, and fresh-baked focaccia.
- Tomato cobbler (local cherry tomatoes sautéed with sweet onions and garlic, then topped with parmesan-laced drop biscuits).
- Lasagna stuffed with local veggies, mozzarella, ricotta, and a blush sauce.
- Peach-blueberry-blackberry muffins with scratch-made sweet butter and jam.
All of that is from a single week in July. Hard as it is to fathom, it’s only going to get better over the weeks ahead, as the harvest season begins in earnest.
There are lots of other reasons we love the Lovin’ Oven: the massive portions, a staff that pines to be on a first-name basis with every diner. But in this moment, when we’re simultaneously wondering how it’s already August and why all of this isn’t even close to being done, we’re settling on the one that’s forcing us to focus on how incredibly lucky we are to be here, in this place, at this very moment.