John Colwell got his start in the restaurant business as a dishwasher in high school. Now he owns his own – Local Dish in Fort Mill – and tries to “buy local” every chance he gets.
“We want to keep money in the area,” said Colwell. “It helps everybody who lives here.”
Open 2 ½ years, Local Dish changes its menu each spring and fall. Favorites are the chicken pot pie, shrimp and grits, a pork belly sandwich, and their burgers.
Colwell gets as much food from Carolina farms as he can, and even uses regional brewers for offerings at the bar. Not only is it good for the economy but it reflects the local food movement sweeping the country, he said. “Even the bigger vendors are trying to source locally.”
It can be a challenge, he said, noting that smaller farms often don’t deliver and there’s little available locally in the winter. Some items – like shrimp, for example – are obviously not found in York County.
“We try to get it as close as we can,” he said. “That’s the way to do it.”