Food & Community: The Dish on Whitewater’s Farm-to-Table Restaurant, The Black Sheep

September 11, 2019

The Black Sheep, located in downtown Whitewater, WI on Whitewater St., sports a chalkboard behind the bar that displays every local farm they partner with and what they buy. From food to spirits, locally grown and sourced products comprise much of the menu.

“We love farms. We love farmers. If we don’t have good farmers, we don’t have good food, says Sailsbery.

Which is why Chef Tyler is passionate about food education and community–a perfect recipe for adventurous meals and collaborations with creative partners.

“We do a lot of events. A number of those are community partner relationships: Rock County Jail to raise money for their garden. Wisconsin Farm-to-Table so people can come out and see and learn about agriculture and do things on a farm. Alice in Dairyland farm fundraiser so people can support that program so Alice can go out and talk about dairy and Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.”

Chef Tyler Sailsbery, Owner of The Black Sheep

Pairing up with Young Auditorium is another step in the direction of sharing unique, local food creatively.

“Young Auditorium Director, Shannon, and I are excited because we’re both artists! We get to bring that forward in different ways while doing good for the community,” says Sailsbery.” Not only will people be supporting local by shopping with us, but then they’re also supporting all the local farmers who rely on us to make a living.”

The Black Sheep is catering the Opening Night Celebration on September 20th that features headliners Derek Byrne and Paddygrass. They’ll also be providing themed meals before two shows spring of 2020– Before GENTRI: The Gentleman Trio you can expect foods that are traditional to Mormon culture and before An Amerian In Paris, enjoy French cuisine. Can’t make either of those shows but attending different performances? Grab a cocktail from the bar because they’ll be tending bar for all of the shows.

“You can get local, consistent, high-quality cocktails before every show. Wisconsin distilleries are growing fast. J. Henry and Sons, for example, collaborates with venues, while they farm in Dane County. Death’s Door uses grain off of Washington Island. We offer around thirty Wisconsin distilled products. So we’re excited to bring that to Young Auditorium.”

Chef Tyler Sailsbery, Owner of The Black Sheep

Supporting local means using what’s in season and constantly having to think on one’s feet. It’s no surprise, then, that Tyler’s favorite thing about being a chef is playing.

“I get to play with food. We are always coming up with new things. It’s both awesome and incredibly scary at the same time. There’s never a favorite dish. It’s always, what’s new? What can I learn? And how can I do better? We want to do things that are unique or have a unique twist but also realize that not every diner has an adventurous palate, so we try to find a really nice balance,” says Sailsbery. “And we do that in really cool ways. We can do a meatloaf that’s one hundred percent local and it’s still a comfort food and something traditional, but we’ll use local bison, elk, lamb, goat, pig…or eggplant!”

If you seek that comfortable playfulness while also wanting to feel pampered, you need to experience The Black Sheep, whether at the restaurant itself or before a show at the Young Auditorium. Not only will you delight your tastebuds, you’ll be paying for food or spirits that your neighbor’s grew.

“Come and laugh, celebrate, have a good time, and don’t worry about dressing nice! I don’t,” laughs Sailsbery.