Two weeks ago I announced the new farm-to-table restaurant The White Oak Tavern opening soon in Jilly’s old spot in the Enchanted Forest shopping center in Ellicott City. Yesterday I received a more information from Danny Jongezoon, White Oak’s publicist, marketing manager and self-proclaimed ‘in-house everything’ guy.
The White Oak Tavern is owned by Peter and Clare Frey (brother and sister) and Noel Johnson. Greg Mason is its executive chef. All four came from Bare Bones Bar & Grill, also in Ellicott City just a few miles down the road from the new White Oak Tavern. I had the pleasure of meeting Pete, Clare and Noel at the Jilly’s memorabilia sale (we bought the Brooks Robinson autographed jersey). At Bare Bones, Mason was the head cook, Johnson was the bar manager, and Peter and Clare were bartenders. Jongezoon said, “one of the main reasons why they left was because they truly believed in their abilities and the concept of The White Oak,” and they wanted to “bring something truly unique to Ellicott City.”
That uniqueness is White Oak Tavern’s local seasonal menus. Everything is local, even the name White Oak, which was chosen because it is the official tree of Maryland. All food will come from Maryland farms, all wine from Maryland vineyards, all craft beers from the penta-state area (MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ) and any services needed through local mom and pop shops. Each item on White Oak’s menu, with the exception of brunch and kids menu, is paired with a craft beer that compliments each dish. Jongezoon says, “The prices are very reasonable with the most expensive item being $22 for the sirloin steak and our less expensive item is an appetizer, cheddar cornbread for $3. All draft drinks will be $6 with the hopes of launching with 37 taps, but realistically with 30 taps.” Below is a sample four-course paired meal highlighting White Oak’s winter menu. A finalized winter menu will be released in the next week or early November.