In its most simple form, we are in the business of feeding people.
A business that we love and take a great deal of pride in and
an act at the core of what it is to be human.
To us, there is nothing more satisfying than inviting you: our friends, family, farmers and neighbors into our home, nourishing you with soul satisfying food and allowing you to escape the rigors of daily life… if only for a short time.
We believe that passion, hard work and love all fall into the same category.
We have taken the dichotomy of ‘work life’ and ‘real life’ and distilled them into one—we live above the restaurant. The people we know and love are all around us, we share our home with them and couldn’t be happier about it.
Taylor and Leeann Mason
‘Ma(i)son’ is a contrived word that combines the French word for house or home (maison) with our last name (Mason)—in essence “Mason’s house.’ For the first few years we lived in the apartment above the restaurant and think of our restaurant as an extension of our home. It is this sense of comfort and conviviality that we share with our diners on a nightly basis. At Ma(i)son, we like to think that every night we
host a dinner party for our friends, family and neighbors.
A cookery is defined as: ‘the practice , art and skill of preparing food
as well as a place in which food is cooked…’
The word cookery also evokes an old-world quality, one of tradition and heritage, that we embrace in everything we do. To that end, we are practicing age-old techniques with Lancaster County resources to create simple, inspired cuisine.
With the design of the restaurant, we wanted the space and the food
to share anchoring similarities. In both you will see a ‘refined-rusticity’
as we like to call it. A naturally contradictory term, we have found it to be
a great descriptor for what we do at Ma(i)son.
With the physical design of the restaurant we juxtapose bare wood tables,
rustic reclaimed barn wood and an open kitchen with a collection of antique china, embellished mirrors and refined table settings.
In regards to cuisine, we embrace the rusticity of the old world in our
approach to ingredients and philosophy and combine that with
refinement of flavor and modern sensibilities.
These were the particular qualities of dining establishments and settings
in which we loved the most—refined yet simple food presented in a
rustic yet elegant setting and served in a casual, thoughtful manner.
Slow food is an idea, a way of eating and most importantly a way of living.
Beyond Slow Food’s global outreach, it is a simple, grassroots movement
that emphasizes everyone’s right to good, clean and fair food. At Ma(i)son,
we are proud members of Slow Food USA and embrace their ideals
in everything we do. To us, slow food means taking the time and effort
to source the best ingredients through meaningful relationships with farmers
and artisans and preparing them very simply. It also means then taking
the time to enjoy the simple pleasures that beautiful ingredients and food
has to offer and recognize that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
For more on Slow Food USA and Slow Food International,
log onto slowfood.org and join the movement.
Our approach to cuisine is rooted in the soulful culinary traditions
and techniques of the old world. We strive to procure the best
ingredients possible from Lancaster County and the
Susquehanna River Valley and practice the skill of restraint by treating
them very simply. We believe that it is simplistic cooking combined with
our desire to emphasize parts of the animal that are far to often
considered ‘off-cuts’ to challenge us as cooks
and therefore result in soulful, inspired cooking.
Everything we serve at Ma(i)son is handmade. In the overly commodified
food world in which we live, the simple practice of making great,
healthful food from real ingredients has been lost. Through creating
meaningful relationships with local farmers and artisans, we are able
to procure the very best products and let the ingredients shine.
We maintain a small menu with very focused flavors and that changes weekly because we like it that way, but also because we rely completely on our farmers and producers and what the weather and seasons dictate.
People often ask, “what are you going to cook locally in the winter? How can that work?” We simply smile and refer to the old countries of Italy and France for inspiration as they have been cooking seasonally for centuries.