Modern Homestead Cozy Dinners offer a relaxing space to dine and disconnect.
For Trellis Smith, one of the best parts of living in West Virginia is experiencing the joy each season can bring. As an owner and operator of Modern Homestead, which features a garden center, a cafe, guest houses for lodging, and a Rustic Church for special events, Smith sees the seasonality of the Mountain State as a way to welcome the changes of the weather: “Everything has its place, and we’ve embraced that with our business.”
Located in the heart of Reedsville, a half-hour’s drive east of Morgantown, Modern Homestead began in 1980 as Tatham’s Garden Center, open for more than four decades. When his parents retired, Lucas Tatham took charge of the business alongside his partner, Smith. Together, they rebranded as Modern Homestead, gradually expanding their offerings to become what they refer to as “a small-town resort.” The two have seized opportunities to breathe new life into historic buildings—not only to support their family, but to support the needs of the community, too.
One of their latest and most popular additions is the Cozy Dinner. Offered on most Saturday evenings and some Sundays at the cafe, the three-course meals include a salad, an entrée with a vegetarian option available, and dessert. Of both the dinner site and name, Smith says, “It’s a nice-sized house, which was built in 1901, but once you add a coffee house and dining space, it becomes … well, cozy.”
Renovated during the pandemic, the high-ceiling, candlelit dining room seats 24. The quaint space with tables for two to eight offers an intimate experience for friends or family to enjoy one another’s company over delicious meals. Smith aims to create a feast for the senses, not only with the food, but with a curated playlist streaming from the speakers and fresh-cut flowers adorning the tables.
The dinners specialize in elevated comfort dishes sourced from as many local ingredients as possible, Smith says. He also draws on his New Orleans background for many Cajun-style meals. While not professionally trained, he has grown to love cooking since adopting two children 13 years ago. “Before that, I cooked out of necessity. But when our family grew from two to four, we valued family dinnertime—talking about your day, centered around a meal,” he says. “When I started hosting dinner parties with friends, I thought, ‘This should become part of the business.’” Stocked with a library of roughly 500 cookbooks, a family lineage of excellent cooks, and an appreciation of a good meal, Smith has filled the role of chef well.
The dinners began as monthly offerings, but, because of their popularity, became weekly seatings. Some diners live in Morgantown, while some have traveled from as far away as Deep Creek Lake or Pittsburgh. Regulars have even asked Smith to cater their weddings or birthdays. “We had some of our dinner customers get married at the Rustic Church,” Smith says. “It’s nice to grow along with your customers and consider them friends. I truly love being part of people’s celebrations.”
Cozy Dinner reservations may be made online. Modern Homestead’s Holiday Market, offering fresh wreaths and Christmas trees, opens the weekend of Thanksgiving and runs through mid-December, and special holiday dinners during the first two weekends of December promise the most decadent, celebratory meals of the year.
Can’t make a dinner? The Trellis Café is open for beverage service, lunch, and freshly baked pastries Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seasonally March through mid-December. modhomestead.com
Café Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 large farm fresh eggs
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugars, and molasses until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape bowl to incorporate all ingredients into the mixture.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture. Then add chocolate chips. Scrape the bowl and mix for a few more minutes.
- Using a two-inch scoop, drop cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 17 to 19 minutes. Remove from oven, cool until firmed, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container.