Dan Silo brings Adirondack cuisine to Appalachia

OH, CANADA!: Sawhorse chef/owner and transplanted Yankee Dan Silo wants to spread peameal bacon sandwich love. Photo by Tawny Asher

If the interior décor of Sawhorse — plenty of wood, deep pine-green walls and leather upholstery, cans and jugs of maple syrup and maps of the Adirondacks — doesn’t give away owner/chef Dan Silo’s roots in upstate New York and travels through Canada and New England, his menu will. Heavy on the meat and potatoes from breakfast through dinner and weekend brunch, it includes regional Yankee favorites such as poutine, brown bread, braised cabbage, meat pie, pub sausage, Maine mussel chowder, scrapple and seemingly ubiquitous maple syrup.

But it’s the virtually unknown-in-these-parts peameal bacon sandwich that sends visiting Canadians who happen upon the Leicester Highway diner-esque restaurant into a swoon, especially when they find out it’s the real deal. “We usually have to explain what it is,” Silo admits. “But I’ve had several Canadians come in and be absolutely over the moon that we have it on the menu and superpsyched we do it the old-school way.”

Old-school goes way back to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, where the practice of butchers packing their pork loin in peameal to ship across the country resulted in someone’s aha moment that the crust that ensued was pretty darn tasty when the pork was sliced, fried and put on a bun.

Silo, a peameal bacon sandwich purist, accepts no substitutes. “These days, lots of places, even in Canada, use cornmeal, but we do peameal. It’s nuttier and earthier,” he says.

He pulls loins out of the whole pigs he gets from Colfax Creek Farm in Bostic, brines them for five days, then rolls them in peameal he has milled from dried, Canadian yellow split peas at Farm & Sparrow and lets the crust develop for 24 hours. “We slice it thin, griddle it, put it on a homemade roll, add pickled onion and Dijon mustard. It’s one of the best things ever.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.