For more than 22 years visitors to Talbot County and local residents have enjoyed a unique dining experience at Out of the Fire restaurant on 22 Goldsborough Street. In September, Amy Haines, proprietor and founder, is relocating her restaurant to 111 South Washington Street, making it an appropriate time to reflect on the past and ponder the future of one of the most popular dining places on the Eastern Shore.
Eat Well, Be Well, Give Back, the mantra of Out of the Fire, personifies Amy Haines, a business leader, philanthropist, steward of the environment and restaurateur. Opening the doors on June 1, 2000, Amy pioneered the farm to table dining experience on the Eastern Shore. Together with Chef, Chris Berger, Sous Chef, Jed St. Landau and the rest of the Out of The Fire team, Haines has created a warm and unpretentious local dining destination offering quality food for long time Easton residents, newcomers and visitors to the shore.
Haines is always doing cool things before they become popular or trendy. After a west coast stint in the biotech industry, she moved to Talbot County in 1998. Two years later, Haines opened Out of the Fire, melding together her many passions.
She was at the vanguard of sourcing food from local and sustainable vendors.
According to Cleo Braver, Owner of Cottingham Farm, “Amy and her crew, really focus on fresh sustainably and locally produced foods, the raw materials from which they craft their amazing meals. It’s a wonderful thing that they support the local agricultural heritage and allow it to flourish and grow.”
Her love of art led Haines to make the restaurant a home for local artists to display and sell their work. She also became a local business leader focusing on “giving back” to the community and a role model for other women business owners.
Local artist Howard Lapp described Out of the Fire as being more than a restaurant. “It’s been a community meeting place, one that has supported the art community by virtue of Amy’s generous use of her knowledge of art. And right from when she started the restaurant this was her theme, to support artists and their work. And she’s done so consistently for 22 years.”
Haines and her team’s pioneering work at Out of the Fire was also a foundational ingredient that helped create today’s thriving culinary scene in Easton, which has garnered much attention. When asked about her restaurant’s durability and success, she always deflects giving the big share of the credit to her Chef, Chris Berger, Sous Chef, Jed St. Landau and her Out of the Fire family, local partner growers and of course, to her loyal patrons and humbly says, “I just provide the canvas.”
Haines’ canvas significantly expanded with the purchase of a two-story house located at 111 South Washington Street in a historic Easton district, which will be the restaurant’s home this fall. The new location will incorporate many lessons learned, especially the last few challenging pandemic years. Out of the Fire 2.0 will offer a different dining experience compared to the original location. The Washington Street location will feature smaller, more intimate dining areas, outdoor seating, a private dining area for special gatherings, a 900 square foot kitchen with a vaulted ceiling, among other amenities. Out of the Fire will close its doors temporarily at the end of August and reopen in September. The official opening date will be posted on Out of the Fire’s social media. What will not change is the restaurant’s spirit of friendship, community and good food.
This video is approximately nine minutes in length.
The video and this article were written and produced by Mary Beth Durkin and Hugh Panero. Mary Beth Durkin is an award winning filmmaker and freelance journalist who focuses on food and its intersection with the environment, our health and public policy. Her work can be seen on PBSNewsHour’s online site at pbsnewshour.org and ybrproductions.com.