The UXLocale in Uxbridge, Massachusetts Captures the Locals Flavors
of New England in an Idyllic Rural Setting
Sockeye salmon with cheesy risotto over arugula and a fig balsamic
glaze from The UXLocale in Uxbridge.
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article
created on 11/15/17.
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As the sun sets over the hills in rural central
Massachusetts, the brilliant rays of light and panoramic views of
fields that seem to have no end point reflect endless possibilities for
Elaine Cowan at her new restaurant, The UXLocale in Uxbridge, Mass.
Positioned at the top of a hill and as a restaurant that goes beyond
satisfying diners who love locally-sourced food and drink, The UXLocale
offers the dining-out dream-come-true combination of delicious fare, a
rustic and welcoming atmosphere, an owner, family and staff as genuine
and welcoming as the beautiful countryside, and incredible scenic views
from the seasonal outdoor patio.
Sunset views from the patio at The UXLocale.
The evolving menu at The UXLocale suggests a work in progress, but
simultaneously validates that this relatively new restaurant has
already arrived as a go-to dining out destination in an idyllic, ideal
location. Frequently, lines out the door create a
full capacity scene at the handsome yet rustic dining room and bar
areas on many nights. Hard to believe, but The UXLocale resides just 15
miles from Worcester, Mass., the second largest city in New England.
ride from Boston only takes an hour, while locals from Uxbridge and
charming, small neighboring towns like Douglas, Northbridge, Mendon,
Sutton and Millville can arrive within minutes for some of the
freshest-tasting food in the area. Additionally, those from Providence,
R.I. -- a major New England city which oddly seems to have a shortage
of noteworthy farm-to-table restaurants -- find the easy 25 mile ride
up Route 146 a foodie and escape-from-the-city revelation.
Interestingly enough, however, The UXLocale does not fit into the
paint-by-numbers, overinflated 21st century definition of a
restaurant. Part of that difference exists in The UXLocale's menu,
which focuses more on pizza and pasta. More importantly, The UxLocale
more than local farms.
"We are not about to jump on the farm-to-table bandwagon," said Cowan,
who not only serves as owner but also head chef. "We all know
that (for example) produce comes from farms! That's where restaurants
get their produce. Yes, we source from farms, but make sure to source
locally beyond farms. You can't source a lemon locally, so how can a
restaurant completely call itself a farm to table restaurant if there
are many items that aren't local and from farms? I just say, don't be
farm-to-table thing. Just serve good food!"
Seafood and pasta at The UXLocale. Phot credit: The UxLocale
Meaningful connections with local businesses help Cowan to create her
culinary masterpieces. Sure, sourcing from farms like Douglas
Orchard Farm, Chockalong Farm,
First Leaves Family Farm, Foppemo's
Farm, Potter Hill Farm, and Union Station Farms provide the
farm-to-table element, but The UXLocale takes it to the next level with
strong relationships with A P Fish Company,
D'Errico's Market and Ed Hyder's Mediterranean Marketplace -- all in
Worcester. Cowan also prefers, as many New Englanders do, the heavenly,
homemade ice cream from Richardson's in Middleton, Mass. Additionally,
The UXLocale purchases its high quality coffee from Clutch Coffee, out
of Portland, Ore.
Veggies straight from local farms at The UXLocale. Photo credit: The UXLocale
Sourcing virtually everything within miles of The UXLocale stands as a
business priority and Cowan promises to be as transparent as
possible -- that is apparent when taking the first step into the
The UXLocale prioritizes sourcing from local businesses.
Those who choose to go beyond the basics usually have stories of
challenges, including career changes and the endless work that goes
into starting one's own business. Cowan is no exception. The long
and winding road that leads to The UXLocale previously also provided a
long route for Cowan to arrive at her career passion. Working as a
social worker, caterer, a food writer, in an art
museum and most importantly as a stay-at-home mom lovingly raising her
children, Cowan had a long-standing vision that proves that it is never
too late to
follow a dream.
A Worcester Mass., native who loved to play chef as a child at her
parent's kitchen island counter, Cowan carried that love for cooking
adulthood at her own home and for family and friends. Following in the
vein of chefs with no formal training like Jamie Oliver and Ina
Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), Cowan falls into the category of "You
can't teach this stuff." She has years of trial-and-error, self-taught
cooking experience first inspired by her Italian and Irish upbringing,
and an uncanny, innate sense what satisfies the taste buds of
"I had no formal training. I would just go into homes and cook," said
The challenge was, how could she translate her talents into opening a
restaurant? A few years back, Cowan heard about the West Uxbridge
property for rent and decided to move forward with her long-awaited
career change. With husband Charles Cowan lll, son Charles
(Chad) lV, daughter Antonia and a huge support network of relatives and
friends from all generations -- including those around the 80-year-old
mark -- the crew worked together to essentially gut the building,
restore, revitalize and ultimately transform it into the rustic gem it
Charles (Chad) lll, Charles IV, Elaine and Antonia Cowan at The UXLocale. Photo credit: The UxLocale.
"I had talked to a girlfriend about my dream and she said 'You want to
open a restaurant!'" said Cowan. "I said, 'No,' it is more than just a
restaurant -- it's a dream -- but I had trouble fully explaining it."
No explanation is needed when customers experience the
dining ambiance and food. Outside, though, the rolling hills, old
barn, silo, lack of noticeable signs and a plain-looking entrance might
throw some people off -- wondering if they are entering a farm stand --
but once inside, the magic begins. While the mismatched tables
and chairs go against the grain of everything having to be
HGTV-perfect, the reality is that The UXLocale stands as a perfect
match for so many people looking for a high-end dining experience
without the crazy prices and affected chef and staff drama. It is first and foremost, a family run-operation.
Cowan has created a restaurant perfectly compatible
with her sincere, gracious, unaffected personality. The dining room
exudes a authentic warmth that could only seem genuine in rural America
with its knotty pine walls and high ceilings, as well as an antique
piano in the back. Art work by local artists line the walls and
occasional live music also takes place in the quaint space.
The dining room at The UXLocale.
The bar -- painstakingly built yet lovingly crafted by son Chad --
provides a cozy setting
for enjoying a constantly changing rotation of craft beers (many local
kinds) and wines. Chad has a great understanding of local brews, and
that knowledge helps the overall dining experience stand out.
The bar at The UXLocale.
Great beers on tap at The UXLocale. Photo credit: The UXLocale.
"Much of the furniture is from hand-me-downs and
we even got some church pews from Rhode
Island." said Cowan. "Chad built the bar and did a great job. People
seem to be
receptive to the look. Nothing matches!"
During the warm weather, the outdoor patio provides a slice
of heaven with its quiet setting and beautiful views...
The patio at The UXLocale. Photo source: The UxLocale Facebook fan page.
The menu -- with virtually all the food made from scratch -- showcases
salads, small plates, appetizers, pizza, pasta, daily specials and
homemade desserts. The pasta with sausage in vodka sauce is to die for,
as well as the light, flavorful Margherita pizza with a fresh sauce of
pomodoro tomatoes, mozzarella, freshly torn basil, and a touch of
Chad makes a Margherita pizza. Photo credit: The UXLocale.
The final product. Yum!
Pasta in vodka sauce with sausage and homemade bread and wine at The UXLocale. Photo credit: The UXLocale.
What really makes The UXLocale even that much more special: the entire
staff! They are all so nice and really seem to enjoy their jobs and
working for Elaine.
"I am not sorry that I said 'Yes' to opening (the restaurant)," said
Cowan. "I've waited my whole life to have something like this. I was
able to stay and raise our children. That was great. Now this, and I
Cowan stopped talking, struggled for the right words, and became teary.
overcome with joy of her career accomplishment, she eventually found
those words to express her gratitude and good fortune.
"I am more tired, but happier," said Cowan, of running her own
business. "Most of my life, we have just tried to
make ends meet. If I had all the money in the
world, I wouldn't know what to do with it. I just wanted my dream
business and here it is."
The UXLocale is located at 510 Hartford Ave. Uxbridge MA. Tel.
508-779-7515. web site: http://www.theuxlocale.com. Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/theuxlocale.
Also be sure to read:
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