Before leaving for Europe, we went out to DJ's Southern Komfort Kitchen in Ridgefield thinking it was still The Metro Wine Bar. Lo and behold the owner, Dee Metro, has switched things up quite a bit but her passion for local wine is still apparent and her desire to keep ingredients just as local is more apparent than ever.
Dee Metro, owner and chef, said “We try to keep it mellow but if you want it hot, you just let me know and that’s not a problem. We can definitely spice it up for you.”
December of 2012 Metro opened up as a wine bar and restaurant but many people weren’t aware that food was available and the wine bar limited their customers to an adult-only location. DJ’s Southern Komfort is a more family-friendly option. Walking into the establishment, the main dining area on the right is separated from a 21 and over bar to the left by an amply-sized entryway.
Metro’s focus is fresh, local and homemade. DJ’s makes all their own meat rubs, sauces, glazes, dressings and gravy. They buy local, organic vegetables from NW Organic Farm and Millennium Farms, both located in Ridgefield. Metro walks the talk with seven organic tomato plants, herbs, kale and collard greens growing in the restaurant‘s garden. She purchases all her plants from her close friend, Joyce Haines, owner of NW Organic Farm.
At DJ’s Southern Komfort diners can expect all meats to be smoked on-site for 12 hours. Her most popular dish is the homemade macaroni and cheese. Made with a five-cheese combination and slow-cooked, it’s ‘pretty amazing’ as Metro says. Other favorites including blackened catfish, brisket and pulled pork are right up there. Wine pairings of Petit Syrah with the pulled pork and Sauvignon Blanc with the blackened catfish are easy to accomplish with Metro's wine knowledge and selection.
Past specials of the week have been smoked andouille sausage paired with red beans and rice, southern bacon-wrapped meatloaf, barbecue pulled pork with smoked potato salad and shrimp and andouille sausage étouffée, which is a traditional Cajun/Creole dish served over rice.
Their front porch is an inviting place to enjoy a glass of sweet tea with lunch or choose from their still-impressive local wine selection. Metro also has plans to complete an outdoor kitchen, add brunch on Sundays and host music events in her outdoor entertainment space.
Currently live music is scheduled every Friday night in their bar and musicians drop in occasionally on Saturday nights (check their Facebook page for updates).
Metro’s love of area history is evident throughout the dining room which was the original Ridgefield Free Library - now affectionately known as the Library room. She relayed to me that a group of women in town, who called themselves the Priscilla Study Club, convinced the owners of the old creamery to part out the building. The recycled wood was then used to build Ridgefield’s first library in 1933. One of the original doors to the church across the street (circa 1883) and the original door to the Priscilla Club inside the library (which is now the bar) have been transformed into a faux wall in the restaurant. Some of the church pews, a pulpit shelf, bricks from the original high school and family heirlooms of well-known Ridgefield resident, Bill Bartell, are incorporated in the décor, as well. Metro intends to display the original contract for the library and various other historic town documents in glass cases as time permits.
DJ’s Southern Komfort Kitchen is located at 112 S Main Ave, Ridgefield. Open for lunch Tues-Sat 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and for dinner Thu-Sat 5-9 p.m. For more information call (360) 887-8888 or find them on Facebook.