Our favorite Woodland blogger sits down with Kellie Morgan, owner of Morgan’s on Main in Woodland, to discuss Woodland, Farm to Fork and dining at Morgan’s on Main.
The interiors are warm but masculine, with a combination of original brick and newly installed barn wood walls. The lighting is both romantic and rustic while the food is comforting and creative. Morgan’s is a complete package of fabulously comfortable ambiance and good eats.
The menu is very direct, with two categories: Share and Eat. To share, do not fail to order the Bowl of Bacon–a savory, unctuous combination of candied lardons and spicy chicharrone con carne. The Pull-Apart Bread is delicious, too, baked with butter, garlic and Parmesan, paired with béchamel. To eat, you can ask about the soup of the day “inspired by Yolo County’s farm fresh bounty” or choose from an array of menu items. When it comes to entrees, you could categorize Morgan’s as a steak house; after all, the menu features favorite cuts of Certified Angus beef butchered in house, Prime Rib (12- or 16-ounce cuts), and the seldom-found Pork Porterhouse. You can also choose your sauce: peppercorn demi, blue cheese herb butter, or béarnaise. Check out our full review of our dining experience here.
Without further ado, here’s what Kellie Morgan had to say about Morgan’s on Main.
What is Morgan’s On Main’s cuisine?
It started out as something that is different than it is today. I feel we are a steakhouse, with ‘California fresh’ added to it. Originally, we were trying to emphasize the idea of California cuisine with a heavy emphasis on steaks. Since opening, we’ve landed on the idea that we are a steakhouse.
Can you tell me about that transition?
I think we initially shied away from it because we worried about what the expectations of a steakhouse would be. When you think of a steakhouse, you think of Cattleman’s, Ruth Chris, and Morton’s. And there was also such a demand for a steakhouse in Woodland. We were always asked the question, “When are you opening a steakhouse?” I also wanted there to be some kind of emphasis that we would try our best to include local produce.
Like the Farm to Fork concept, but also focus on your steaks?
Yes, but most steakhouses wouldn’t necessarily call themselves “Farm to Fork”. My original concept was lots of good protein and interesting vegetables. I wanted people to come in and experience vegetables a different way than they are use to. At Maria’s Cantina (another restaurant owned by Kellie), I’ve been lucky with our Chefs and how they experiment with their vegetables. The first time I ever had parsnips was at Maria’s, which seems odd at a Mexican restaurant! It was paired with a New York Strip and spicy seasonings. It was so different, that I knew when we opened Morgan’s I wanted to offer that here.
Tell me about the interiors.
The interior is based on creating a place you can come dressed up for a fun night out, or dress down for comfort. It’s a fine balance, some people might think we’re fancy and they have to be dressed up. But that’s why our wait staff is in jeans and a white crisp shirt; We are a little bit spiffy and a little bit casual. We are in a farming community and we love that, so let’s own who we are!
What’s next for Morgan’s, as you approach being open for a full year in September?
Well, I think we’re going to find our traditions. For instance, our Front of House Manager, Richard Gay, came up with the idea of December 23rd, every year, is Ugly Christmas Sweater event. He did a great job, he brought in a fire pit on the patio and we had s’mores.
Also, I think people can look to us to keep our menu options fresh, whether we change the local produce or with our specials. We will be adding the filet onto the menu. People want it and we were keeping it as a special, but if people want a filet they should be able to order a filet.
One thing I want to point out is how skilled Richard is with creating a great atmosphere with our front of house staff. We have so many young, green staff working for Morgan’s. They came out and applied for the jobs, and were so excited to be a part of something new in town. I can’t wipe the smile off these kid’s faces! I think Richard has helped to cultivate the feeling that they are a part of something fun and have a sense of ownership of their role and the restaurant. They may not get every single thing right, but they are always courteous to the clientele, and that makes me very happy.
What do you want Woodland to know?
I want Woodland to know that we purposefully created this atmosphere for them. We didn’t just throw it together. We really thought about it and we planned it out. We felt like we knew what the town was expecting from us and we think we got pretty close to the mark. The other thing I would like them to know is that I hope that in the spirit of making our town grow, that we all give each other second chances. If it’s coming here and you received a meal that was so-so, or a server that was a little unhappy, please come back again. That’s the only way we are going to make Woodland successful. We have to get past the idea that “Woodland won’t support ‘this’, or support ‘that’”, that’s just baloney! Too many times, Woodlanders are eating out in Davis, Winters, or Sacramento. If the choices are here, people will enjoy and support them. The more restaurants, the better.
This article and photography was contributed to us from Visit Woodland.