Ryan Cunningham, Abbott’s Grill executive chef, likes to joke, but he’s passionate about food and doesn’t put dishes out he wouldn’t stand behind. He’s been at the restaurant since it opened in December 2009 and said people who haven’t tried it yet won’t be disappointed.


Ryan Cunningham, Abbott’s Grill executive chef, likes to joke, but he’s passionate about food and doesn’t put dishes out he wouldn’t stand behind. He’s been at the restaurant since it opened in December 2009 and said people who haven’t tried it yet won’t be disappointed.

Q How would you describe the menu?
A It’s American classics with a newer twist to them. We use local products. We wanted a lot of familiar dishes that people can relate to but with something different — for example, Cajun meatloaf. We like to have a lot fun with the food, getting people to try new things like bison liver and onions or veal kidneys.
Bison is our big thing. We go through tons and tons of bison from Colvine Bison Farm [in Greenwood].

Q Is that what you try to do, get people to eat new dishes?
A Once they get comfortable and trust us, you can fed people anything. We hook them with our familiarity and then just slowly work in some interesting things they may never have heard of because it always tastes good.
[While working down at the beach], you get people from Washington, D.C., that are used to eating veal kidneys and are more willing to try things. Sometimes with your regular Kent County Joe, it’s hard to get them to not eat what they always eat.
We want people to be adventurous eaters, but we appeal to all people’s appetites. It’s not like we don’t have everything on the menu. There are burgers, sandwiches.

Q Abbott’s Grill has formed a partnership with Wyoming-based Fifer Orchards for demonstrations and classes. How has that worked out?
A Recently, I’ve done cooking demos for their asparagus festival. I’ve done probably three or four different events.
At their strawberry festival, we did things with their strawberries like making strawberry chipotle barbeque chicken, strawberry lemonade (not using ready made lemonade, but fresh) and strawberry cupcakes.
Next Saturday, they are having a blueberry peak party, but I won’t be there. I’ll be at the restaurant for the Chillin-n-Grillin cooking class.

Q Is it usual for a restaurant to have so many cooking classes and demonstrations?
A Yes, especially with everything that’s on TV. It’s not so usual around here, but there are many places at the beach that do cooking classes and demos.
We have demonstrations at the farmer’s market in Milton on a regular basis. It’s a great marketing tool and way for a restaurant to get exposure.
When I go to Fifer’s, people will say, “I’ve heard of that place. I’ve been meaning to eat there.” It’s a last reminder that they need to come in.

Q What you do like about doing demonstrations and classes?
A It’s a chance to show people how easy it is to do things with local produce by expanding knowledge from me to them.