It goes without saying that the choices we make impact the world around us, and for Turf, Surf, and Earth in downtown Somerville, it all starts with fresh, creative and locally sourced ingredients.
“It’s more sustainable to source locally, and it feels better to support the community you’re a part of,” says chef Byron Salazar, who owns the restaurant alongside his partner, Mackenzie Stahl. “It’s important to build relationships by working directly with people.”
Salazar, who graduated from Bridgewater-Raritan High School and studied accounting at Penn State, knew from the beginning that he wanted to own a business. To support his schooling, he cooked in nearby restaurants. Before long, it became clear that the restaurant business was his calling, and he opened Turf, Surf, and Earth in 2019.
As far as style, Salazar draws inspiration from the foods he loves best, which includes nutritious, plant-based meals. “I found that with plant-based meals, there are endless opportunities to be creative,” he says. “It’s wonderful to realize you can turn any meal into one that’s plant-based and not sacrifice taste. Using ingredients that taste good as well as make you feel good has a double advantage — just like owning a business that lines up with your own personal values.”
Some of their signature plant-based menu items include a spin on the classic turkey club, created with house-made seitan. Other items include their version of a po’ boy, which is typically made with shrimp or oysters, but theirs is made with lightly battered and fried oyster mushrooms. Another popular menu item is the nachos, enrobed with rich, creamy “cheese” made from cashews.
About a third of the menu is plant-derived. The rest (as their name implies) comes from the land and sea —offering something for everyone. “We have grass-fed burgers, chicken and seafood that you can order grilled, sautéed or fried, because we want to give people a chance to try something new and not be excluded because of their food preferences or dietary restrictions,” he says.
Just as the restaurant showcases creativity in their culinary offerings, the same goes for their efforts to remain successful during the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant offers the convenience of online ordering and takeout options, has limited indoor seating and will be offering casual outdoor dining as the weather gets warmer.
“Our goal is to create community through the food,” Salazar says. “It is what connects, feeds and sustains us in more ways than one.”
Order online at turfsurfandearth.com.
Simple Chicken Taco
1 chicken breast
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp salt
1 packet achiote seasoning
3 tbsp lime juice
1 small bunch of cilantro
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 cup water
Cook chicken breast in a medium pan with tomato sauce and water covering the chicken. Add onion powder, minced garlic, salt, achiote seasoning, lime juice, cilantro and cayenne pepper and cook until chicken is tender and fragrant.
Pull chicken out of the pot and let it cool for about 20 minutes, then shred it. Put it on your favorite corn tortilla. Top with avocado, onion, cilantro, tomato and your favorite sauce. Our favorite topping is chipotle mayo: This is just mayo mixed with well-blended chipotle peppers.