David and Laura Shea opened applewood two years ago and do it the old-fashioned way: David behind the stove, Laura running the “front of the house,” local farmers dropping off this week’s harvest, and the Sheas’ daughters in the kitchen or asleep in the back room, all a block from their home. Visit for dinner or Sunday brunch and you’ll find Park Slopers have made it their second home, too, and not just for the working fireplace. Back when he was cooking in Chicago, David was named one of “Ten Cooks with Heat” by Forbes magazine in 2002, but we call him a cook with heart. The Sheas’ devotion to sustainable agriculture shows on their menu (even the cocktails change with the season) and in their regular Meet the Farmer dinners in which lucky diners, seated communally, hear a farmer tell how and why they raise their crops, while digging into a feast of the bounty in question.
Clockwise from upper right corner: Laura calls out orders; local produce; Sophie tells David about her day; rendering bacon; remains of half a butchered pig; dry erase board in the kitchen.