EDIT: Sadly, Watershed Cafe closed in early 2020. Thank you to the wonderful staff for all the delicious meals and great memories.
What better way to celebrate and support Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve than with a farm to table cafe? Sited in Poolesville among the rolling hills and open fields of the Ag Reserve, Watershed Cafe offers tasty, seasonal fare prepared from scratch. Come to Watershed for fresh food and tasty drinks prepared with care in a fast-casual setting that is family-friendly.
Warm orange walls, a mountain mural, eclectic music, and diverse seating options add to the friendly, casual vibe. It’s a great place to stop in for a quick cup of coffee, to snack and linger over your laptop, or to sit down and enjoy a meal. Watershed also hosts local events like visits from the Easter Bunny, fundraisers for local non-profits, and live music. On weekends you can enjoy their food over at the always lovely Rocklands Farm. And they offer carryout and catering as well.
I’ve stopped in at Watershed Cafe many times for a fresh breakfast to go or a quick cup of coffee. No matter the time of day or who is working, staff are always friendly and helpful. My morning favorites include their breakfast sandwich with homemade biscuit made from scratch and their breakfast tacos with fresh salsa and local eggs. The best pick-me-up on the menu for a dreary day or lazy afternoon is their heavenly honey cortado, a double espresso shot with milk and local honey, a perfect trifecta of strong coffee, creamy milk, and sweet, earthy honey.
Our family enjoyed dinner there on a recent night–with 2 kids and a vegan in tow, it seemed a good dynamic for testing out Watershed’s dinner menu. Their kids’ menu strikes a nice (and needed) balance of healthy options that also appeal to picky palates. Our youngest enjoyed a simple plate of a peanut butter and honey sandwich with fruit and chips, which she proclaimed “really good, better than just great or good”. Our oldest opted for their mixed greens salad and a sausage rolled in pretzel dough served with their Pentagon sauce and whole grain mustard for dipping–she commented, “The sausage was good with the cheese and I like that it tasted like a soft pretzel.” Watershed Cafe offers plenty of vegetarian options: salads, house-made veggie burgers, greenhouse sandwich, veggie tamales, and more. My husband, our vegan in the family, opted for the veggie sandwich with house mixed pickles (cucumber, carrot, green pepper, and onion) and chips.
I chose the MooChaCho burger, made with Rocklands Farm beef topped with cheddar, fresh green salsa, and jalepeno mayo on a homemade brioche bun with sides of chips and House mixed pickles . I love a good burger and make great ones myself at home so I can be a bit picky; I’m happy to share that Watershed Cafe’s burger knocked my socks off. It’s definitely the best burger I’ve had locally, and I’m sure it’s due to their use of fresh and local ingredients.
Supporting Watershed Cafe not only means that you are supporting a local, independent business and all the benefits that can bring to a small community; it also means you are supporting our small, local farmers. They currently partner with Rocklands Farm, Kenzie’s Coop, Kingsbury Orchard, Chocolate and Tomatoes Farm, Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Company, and Eat the Rainbow Farm and are always on the lookout for farmers who’d like to sell their products. The cafe was recently highlighted by Montgomery County Food Council for its support of local farm produce by chef and owner Ben Ritter, himself a former farmer.
Watershed Cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Thursday-Saturday. Their menu includes all day breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, tamales, tacos, and rotating specials to enjoy there or takeaway. The cafe space is conveniently next door to Whalen Commons park (picnic anyone?) and the Maggie Nightingale library.