The Grocery Cart Chronicles: York County’s Mike Casey

Ever wonder what your favorite chef buys when they’re off the clock? In this series, we take a peek into the private shopping habits of some of Pennsylvania’s top tastemakers.

When Mike Casey isn’t at home helping raise three boys under 3-years-old, he’s cooking at the John Wright Restaurant, located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Wrightsville, York County. At this scenic spot, they cook everything from scratch and source all their seasonal produce from local farmers. Snag a table outside and raise a glass to the arrival of spring.

The menu is what Casey calls “eclectic American” — think shredded Brussels sprout salad with red onion, roasted butternut squash, crispy prosciutto, and warm bourbon-brown butter dressing, or braised lamb shank alongside carrots, mushrooms, tarragon jus, and herbed mashed potatoes.

Despite a busy work schedule, Casey still finds time to cook with his family. While he tends towards traditional Spanish and Cajun dishes, his wife likes to dabble in Thai and Indian food. The common denominator: Rice.

“Rice is a big thing in my house,” explains Casey. “I have to have variety. There’s always Carolina Gold if I’m doing some sort of Cajun dish. There’s always Goya rice for Spanish food because I do a lot of paellas. And I always have to have basmati.”

Now that spring is on the horizon, Casey is looking forward to vibrant produce and fresh herbs, both at home — where chickens and a couple of pigs roam near the family’s vegetable plot — and at work.

“We have a full garden here at the restaurant,” he explains. “You can go out back and pick poblanos or our own sage and basil. My cooks come out here everyday and snip fresh herbs to order. I think it makes such a difference.”

Mike Casey’s Grocery List

  • Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Shrimp
  • Bacon (“If I can get up to Green Dragon Farm Market, King’s Fresh Meats probably has some of the best local bacon around.”)
  • Allegro Winery Pinot Noir or Grüner Veltliner (“They used to have a stand at the restaurant. This dry white is perfect for a hot day.”)
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Rice (Basmati, Carolina Gold)
  • Jalapenos
  • Furmano’s stewed tomatoes (“It’s a nice local product. I like fresh tomatoes for certain things, but for some reason, canned tomatoes can add more of an authentic flavor.”)
  • Coconut milk
  • Hippey’s hot dogs (made in Denver, PA).
  • Pistachios and peanuts in the shell (“My boys love cracking pistachios and peanuts. They could live solely off that — and hot dogs — and they’d be happy.”)
  • Marinated white anchovies
  • Duke’s Mayonnaise (“We go through a lot of mayonnaise. For the last few years, you can get Duke’s around here. I’ve actually convinced my wife that it’s better than the Kraft mayo she’s used to.”)
  • Sriracha (“I think sriracha has become such a staple in America — it’s like what ketchup used to be.”)

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