HOWARD — There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the new chef at the Hublersburg Inn so we thought we would sit down with Cody Pierce and find out for ourselves how this local Inn caught his eye.
Why the Hublersburg Inn, I mean it’s out in the middle of nowhere?
There really isn’t anything like it in the area — historic, rural, homey, close to the farms I want to source from with enough space to have our own gardens. It reminds me of the Inn at Little Washington with its humble beginnings in a garage that became a destination restaurant. It started out small and evolved over time. Not that we are looking to be that high end, but the feel of a country inn that grows into more. The owner, Andi Biddle, bought it because it reminded her of the inns in Bucks County where she grew up. It’s the unique, charming atmosphere that got me.
Where did you train? What influenced you to be a chef?
I went to the L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, outside D.C., a French culinary school. The French care for their food and have an eye for detail. I also traveled a lot with my uncle/guardian as a teenager. I’ve been to Europe over 40 times, Africa — so many places — and once I understood the culture and food I didn’t care what I was going to see. It was all about what I was going to eat!
What sets you apart from other chefs in the area?
I like to say that I have a classic French training with a side of pizza pub. I’ve opened a pizza restaurant in Savannah, worked in Michelin star restaurants in the D.C. area, beach restaurants in Avalon, from bars in Potter County to Centre Hills Country Club and the Gamble Mill. We have so many awesome, talented chefs in the area but I have a culinary team here — we’ve been together for five years at three different restaurants. My love for mentoring these guys to have good skills, treat food with care and helping them create a discerning palate is really important to me, and I think it reflects well in the food. It generates consistency. What we are doing at the Hublersburg Inn is giving people beautiful food, with love, at an affordable price.
What should people order when they come to the Inn?
Any of the chef’s features — I love working with fresh fish, fresh produce, and local foods. The features are my opportunity to showcase what I can get fresh or in season. I know many restaurants are on the “local” bandwagon but the reality is we are in Central PA — if you see strawberries on the menu in winter they are not coming from here. The Inn has been using potatoes from Ardry’s farm about two miles away for over 10 years. Goot Essa Cheese is made a mile away, and we buy local seasonal produce as well as prepared foods. It’s been happening here long before it became a thing. Now I want to expand on it by canning, freezing and raising produce so we have more year-round availability. Honestly, I want to be a farmer with a restaurant.
What’s in the future for the Inn?
Chickens. I told the owner if we are going to do brunch we should get some chickens! For the eggs! No, seriously, I’ll be 30 this year and I feel it’s time to build something of my own and Andi is helping to put me on that path. We are looking to be a crossover restaurant. We have a great local clientele we want to keep and also be a destination restaurant with the kind of food and atmosphere that is worth the short — let me add scenic — drive out of town. I like taking familiar foods and bringing them up a notch or two. For instance, our winter comfort food menu has a Meatloaf Panini and our Valentine’s Day menu has Lamb Lolly Chops and a classic Beef Wellington. There is really something here for everyone. Do you just want a really good burger or do you need to impress some out of town peeps? We offer both. Future? The Hublersburg Inn will no longer be just a where the locals eat “secret”!