If you haven’t tried Fairhaven’s newest restaurant, you should definitely consider making it your next night out. Lovitt Restaurant, owned by Norman and Kristen Six, has been feeding the community local farm-to-table food since March of this year. Lovitt’s cooking practices include the use of whole animals in their entirety, fresh fish bought the morning of and locally sourced, organic produce and dairy.
Keeping things fresh and local, however, means constant change. “We change things weekly,” Norman says. “We have to change because you can’t always serve lamb chops and shanks. We buy maybe twelve lambs a year and so you can’t always have it on the menu once you are out of shanks. They are on for four to five days and then gone.”
This way of cooking means you can count on eating only the absolute best ingredients with the most nutrients, but one thing that doesn’t change is Lovitt’s use of cast iron for nearly everything they make. I am told that this practice alone has health benefits in and of itself. Norman explains that it is better than the typical stainless steel pans which are lined with non-stick Teflon which is not good for us if scratched off into our food. However, with cast iron Norman says, “When you scratch the surface you end up with more iron in your diet, not Teflon. If you use cast iron pans regularly, it’s been proven that you have a higher amount of iron in your blood.” Anemia, or iron deficiency, is fairly common and thus it can be extremely beneficial to eat foods prepared in cast iron regularly.
It could even behoove you to get your own – both for the health benefits and financially. “Cast iron is cheap – $25 – $30 dollar pans,” Norman says. “Plus, they never break.” I look over to a tall stack of the black pans behind Norman and he says, “In 20 years, I’ve lost three of them, maybe.”
Plus, unlike Teflon coated pans, you can’t really ruin them. Stainless steel warps overtime and the non-stick wears off, but with cast iron, the pan only gets better with age. “If you do destroy one – or cook the surface off – you are halfway to fixing it. Once the surface is off, you can re-season it super easy. Oil the pan and heat it to 350 degrees in the oven,” Norman explains. Voila! Good as new, if not better. Storing the pan in a warm, dry place also keeps it in best condition. Norman keeps his on or near the stovetop. That way, he explains, “When you go to make coffee and your pan is sitting next to your boiling water, it will absorb some of that heat and keep it super dry.”
But wait, there’s more! Not only does cast iron provide your body with an essential mineral and is unbelievably easy to maintain, it naturally seasons foods. “Repeatedly people ask, ‘What else is in here?’ When we are using pepper, salt, oil and nothing else,” Norman says.
Something else that is consistent at Lovitt, is their use of sourdough. Sourdough is unique from other bread dough in the fact that it has been formed through a fermentation process of yeast and good bacteria. Norman explains that Lovitt Restaurant’s sourdough starter is 15 years old! It is turning the flour into proteins, acids and complex sugars. This process makes the dough easy to digest in our stomachs. He even mentions how one of his cooks has gotten over his gluten-intolerance from eating sourdough in the restaurant. “A lot of people are eating raw flour when they are eating bread. In a factory, a loaf can take under an hour to go from raw flour into the oven. Whereas the flour in our bread has been processed by the sourdough for weeks.”
Like cast iron, Lovitt Restaurant uses sourdough in everything. They use it in their fried foods, like their chicken where they let the meat sit in a sourdough batter overnight, resulting in a tender and flake-free texture. They also use it as a thickener like, in particular, their coleslaw. “And it’s great for catering in the summer because you don’t have to worry about the raw eggs in the sunshine,” Norman says. Not to mention, it adheres to vegan diets.
There are a plethora of positives associated with sourdough, but still, Kristen Six says that the flavor is pervasive in a lot of Lovitt’s food and not everyone is a fan. Lovitt isn’t budging though, she explains, “Food is like an art. Just because a handful of people don’t like your painting or music doesn’t mean it’s bad art or music.”
I was introduced to Paige, Kristen and Norman’s daughter. “She eats three meals a day here. We all do,” says Norman.
You can rest assured that the Sixes have put much dedication into making your experience at Lovitt Restaurant both flavorful and the most nutritious. It’s more than just a restaurant, it’s like Norman and Kristen opening up their home to feed the rest of the community the very best they have.