It’s not often that you land a seat at the bar at a place like Cheers. A seat that welcomes you back time after time, with that cozy feeling of home. Here in Newburyport, Ceia Kitchen + Bar is our Cheers.
With restaurants coming and going, not much stays the same long enough to become part of you. We’ve tried most of the 80 restaurants in Newburyport during the 6 years that we’ve lived here. In fact, we’ve lived in Newburyport longer than any other city since Don and I got married almost 15 years ago.
It’s almost momentous, realizing that you’ve found that perfect spot. Many heated discussions have taken place in Ceia’s leather barstools. Don and I chose to celebrate buying our home there. We’ve shared drinks with friends, celebrated birthdays, enjoyed family meals, and slipped away for date nights.
When we got back from our trip to Paris and Madrid a few years ago, Ceia was where we wanted to be. The restaurant always magically transports me to Europe, even if it’s only for a few hours. The brick walls and copper bar create that old world feel with a modern edge. There’s bistro style seating on the sidewalk for people watching in the warmer weather. House made charcuterie plates are presented artfully on slate. Incredible smells drift through the restaurant from the open 2nd floor kitchen. And all those European wines!
I recently had the chance to chat with Ceia’s Executive Chef, Jeremy Glover. He chooses to drive 45 minutes from Maine to Newburyport because he totally loves his job at Ceia, mostly because he has an amazing boss in Nancy Batista-Caswell, proprietor and wine director.
Chef Jeremy runs a scratch kitchen, which means everything is made fresh at the restaurant. This is super important to me as a food allergy mom because less suppliers means more control in the kitchen. I was really impressed with Jeremy’s philosophy on food allergies. Here’s how he handles food allergies in the kitchen at Ceia:
I try to not put allergens on the menu. 80% of our entrees and apps are gluten free. I don’t have pine nuts or peanuts, and no soy products. If we do get a food allergy customer, we take precautionary steps. Wash your hands. Wash all utensils. Put on gloves. If someone has been using nuts all night, and we get a nut allergy order, I’ll have another chef make it. I try to minimize it rather than having allergens everywhere and trying to control a chaotic event.
A food allergy Mom’s dream! There aren’t many restaurants that I trust to feed my monkeys because of their severe food allergies (peanut and Celiac). We feel safe at Ceia, and a lot of that has to do with the tone the chef sets in the kitchen. Here are some snippets from our chat:
UTMB :: Menu inspiration?
JG :: Usually what’s coming into season and what I want to eat.
UTMB :: Favorite kitchen gadget?
JG :: Blazen knives from Epic Edge.
UTMB :: Best olive oil?
JG :: Frantoia Barbera Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (#shoplocal at Grand Trunk!)
UTMB :: Advice for home chefs?
JG :: Use salt! Don’t be afraid of real butter.
UTMB :: Make at home?
JG :: Comfort food like roast chickens with root vegetables.
Check the blog next week for a recipe from Jeremy Glover’s kitchen. I’ll be telling more Food Stories from different areas of the industry in 2016. Until next time, friends!