By Maya Pottiger
After opening five years ago, Founders Tavern & Grille has become a staple of the community.
“We’ve become a part of the community rather than just a new restaurant,” said co-owner Steve Sumner.
The Founders staff commemorated the anniversary with a party in November, featuring all-day happy hour and a bunch of giveaways.
“I felt very lucky to have all the support of friends and family and regulars show up,” Sumner said.
New at Founders this month is the debut of the fall/winter menu. During the year, Founders switches up the food menu twice and the drink menu three times.
“I love seeing some of the old regulars — the chicken pot pie coming back, the pot roast. Those hearty winter meals are always fun,” Sumner said. “Comfort food is always a lot of fun to see back on the menu and have again.”
With the seasonal menu changes, Founders is able to use the freshest in-season ingredients.
“Our job is much easier when we’re using the freshest ingredients in-season,” Sumner said. “We look like geniuses because it tastes good, but it’s really the fact that it’s in season.”
The ingredients are sourced locally whenever they can be, Sumner said. During the summer, Founders’ chef visits Papa John’s to get jalapenos, green tomatoes and regular tomatoes, as well as watermelon for the watermelon caprese, Sumner said. In addition, the chicken is sourced from a farm on the Eastern Shore.
“Wherever we can get the best product, that’s led to our success,” Sumner said. “It’s real food and we don’t have to do a whole lot to make it better.”
A bourbon fan, Sumner has enjoyed adding bourbon to the menu. With two currently available, Sumner is looking to visit Louisville and hand-select another barrel to be served at Founders.
“We have two already, so we’re looking forward to picking our third barrel and having our own Founders flight,” Sumner said.
Founders also does a lot of philanthropic work, including donating to the food banks at local churches. Sumner doesn’t talk about the work too much because “you do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because you’re looking for recognition,” he said.
“To be honest, I feel like that’s where we get our most satisfaction,” Sumner said of giving back to the community. “Having the ability from having a successful business and being able to do that is probably the most rewarding out of all of this.”
Founders Tavern & Grille is located at 8125 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena. It is open from 11:30am-10:00pm Tuesday through Thursday, from 11:30am-11:00pm Friday and Saturday, and 11:30am-9:00pm on Sunday. Founders is closed on Mondays. For more information, call 410-544-0076 or visit www.founderstavernandgrille.com.