It’s quiet down on South Richhill Street, where the train tracks encounter South Fork Tenmile Creek in Waynesburg, and that is what makes the location so appropriate for Jennifer Adamson and her partners at Kiln to Table. The newly-inaugurated restaurant, which opened its doors on Oct. 23, might be out of sight for those passing by High Street, but that is part of the charm. The mostly silent surroundings provide customers with a space to work, study or even just enjoy a meal in a peaceful environment. Plus, parking is plentiful, unlike the busiest parts of town.
Adamson was born and raised in Waynesburg. Even during years of traveling as a flight attendant for U.S. Airways and more years of commuting to Pittsburgh, California, Farmington, Washington and Morgantown, W.Va., she never stopped calling Greene County home. Her extensive resume includes a degree in interior design, another in fine art, years of studio work and teaching experience.
Four years ago, she bought the building that now hosts the restaurant to focus on her pottery work with PA Mug Co. Before all that, however, Adamson owned Washington Street Cafe in Waynesburg.
One of her most avid customers was Liz Carpenter, who remembers dropping by the coffee shop after class when she was in middle school to drink milkshakes. Carpenter and Adamson’s reconnected at California University of Pennsylvania, where both pursued degrees in ceramics. After six years in Colorado, Carpenter moved back home to Waynesburg and quickly accepted an invitation to assist Adamson in her pottery studio.
Besides ceramics, the two also share experience in the food industry and a passion for coffee. During the holidays, the studio started opening a pop-up gallery and serving coffee. The popularity of the idea helped Adamson with not only the studio but also renovations in the space.
After some years of work, she was finally able to use the building in a way that brings all her passions together. A restaurant in the front, a pottery studio with enough space for workshops in the back and an adjacent industrial kitchen that will hopefully hold cooking classes and clinics soon, the location is now a culmination of all of Adamson’s creative endeavors.
All of this will happen year-round, with the help of Carpenter as out front manager and head chef Natalie Rickter. A graduate of the International Culinary Academy in Pittsburgh, Rickter is an advocate of the slow food movement and created a menu that includes ingredients that are locally sourced and items made from scratch in-house. The idea is to go in the opposite direction of fast food places and chain restaurants.
“[That way] we can have our own spin on things, as opposed to what you’re going to get everywhere else,” Rickter said.
All the focus on the local experience is something very dear to Adamson and Carpenter, who support the community as an appreciation of their pasts and an investment in the future.
“I was born and raised here, so everyone has always been really supportive, not only of this venture but my pottery throughout the years,” Adamson said. “The more dollars you spend locally, the more they stay within your community … it’s my hope that we are an inspiration for other people to open businesses because the more that is available in town, people will stay in town longer.”
Carpenter, who grew up on the south side of town, applauds her business partner’s initiative of opening a restaurant in the area.
“I love the sound of the train, it represents Greene County and Waynesburg because it’s such a big part of Greene County, so it’s comforting to me,” she said. “This side of Waynesburg has so much potential … and I want to be a part of it. I’m proud, and I’m excited.”
Kiln to Table is currently open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They sell Adamson’s pottery and local coffee but are quickly working on expanding the artists and businesses they partner with, as well as the restaurant’s hours.
They also have plenty more in the books for the future, from butchery clinics to a kayak launch on the creek. As time goes by, they will develop each of these plans as they create awareness about the restaurant, and people start coming in.
“I hope that we can just be supported by the community and that it’s something that is sustainable and that we grow organically and to be a place for people to have a meeting, people come in from out of town, they want to come to sit and talk…” Adamson said.
For now, the partners know they have something fresh on their hands.
“It’s awesome because food itself, cuisine, is a form of art … That goes hand in hand with coffee and art, especially pottery because Jennifer’s pottery is functional,” Carpenter said. “It just brings it to the table, from the kiln. Everything is connected on the table. I think it’s an amazing concept.”