The Front Porch introduces Executive Chef Jason Von Moll
As you walk in the door of The Front Porch Market and Grill in The Plains, Virginia, you’re greeted with a cheerful welcoming from the staff. It’s almost as if you’re coming home for a family meal—which is exactly what the owners had in mind when they opened in 2015. “I wanted to create a place where anyone is welcome,” President of Operations Dan Meyers says. “We have people who come in who own horse farms, and we have people who clean the stalls, and that is what I wanted. ”
Located right on Main Street, The Front Porch is housed inside a renovated, 100-plus-year-old railroad house. Offering an enticing menu of fresh and local fare, a vast selection of wine, craft beer and creative cocktails, the restaurant also has a market filled with special treasures from all over the country, handpicked by Meyers. You can find anything from glassware to gourmet coffee. Recently Executive Chef Jason Von Moll rejoined the team to head up the back of house. When the restaurant first opened, Von Moll worked as a sous chef for a year.
From a very young age, Richmond native Von Moll knew he wanted to be in the restaurant business. He spent summers helping out and learning the ropes of the business at his grandfather’s restaurants.
“Some of my most memorable moments were with my Papa cooking breakfast during the holidays for the family,” he says. Learning the family biscuit recipe was something that will always stick with him. “Till this day those are still the best and biggest biscuits I have ever had,” he says. He credits his work ethic and dedication to his grandfather. “He always told me to show up early and stay late.”
Recently, Meyers opened the Paladin Bar and Grill in Stephens City. “I told Jason I wouldn’t open the second restaurant if he didn’t come back,” Meyers said. Once the Paladin was up and running Meyers informed Von Moll that, “Surprise! You’re getting the Front Porch.” Having known each other for four years, the pair work well together collaborating to come up with artful dishes that not only look good but tempt the tastebuds.
Von Moll and his talents are in high demand as he and his staff of about 25 rotate between the two restaurants. “Floating them between the two places gives variety, and they like that,” says Meyers. “The staff really takes ownership of our place, and they really care about what they do.”
Von Moll describes his food as having a “southern flair with a more rustic approach.”
“Jason brings a real personal touch to his food. He puts a sophistication on the classics that gives you that comfort from home as well,” commented Kim McCusker, director of marketing. Keeping the food “approachable” and relatable was important to Meyers and Von Moll. “We try not to be too stuffy,” Von Moll said. “We like for people to actually know what it is they are eating.” Von Moll appreciates the availability of fresh goods from local farms. “I like the local ingredients I get to use and the selection of quality goods I have access to,” he says. He has local farmers stopping in almost every day to present their products, and he’s recently partnered with Ayrshire Farms, a certified organic farm in Upperville.
Community is important to both Meyers and Von Moll, and the Front Porch is really a place that brings people together in different ways and from all walks of life.
New dishes are frequently introduced, alongside the crowd favorites. One of the most popular meals is the Reuben sandwich, served on ciabatta bread, and the Caesar salad which is an entire wedge of Caesar. For an extra special treat try the mixed berry personal pies (who doesn’t want their own pie!) or the ever-popular chocolate cake. All desserts are crafted in house.
If you’re a local resident or just passing through, stop and pull up a chair, have a drink on the porch, and enjoy an exquisite meal crafted by Von Moll.
By Erin Bozdan | Photos by Joanne Maisano
This article first appeared in the October 2018 issue.