Comanche – Christmas in Comanche is as colorful as they come. The annual Christmas parade spreads the holiday cheer as lights bring a seasonal spirit to the square. It’s there that you’ll find a fine dining destination that seems out of place with a population of only a few thousand simple called Harvest.
“In a small town our size, to have a restaurant with this kind of cuisine is quite unusual,” diner Nancy Wilkerson said.
Todd Sanders and his wife Sarimah started the business and they’re are not from around here. Heck, they’re not even from Texas! But something spoke to them a few years back when they moved to Texas all the way from California.
“We did wonder if we were getting the yuppy California guy,” local Shannon Burch joked. “But Todd is actually the opposite. He is very down-home, very family-oriented.”
Turns out, Todd fits in just fine. This former service member served in the Coast Guard and is as friendly as they come. Most important, he loves to hunt! That’s what brought him to Texas in the first place.
“I booked a hunt while I was out here,” Todd said. “I hunted some wild boar. And I came in the spring time and just … I fell in love with it. Told Sarimah, I was like, ‘You gotta come see Texas. It’s amazing.’”
Sarimah wasn’t as sure.
“He brought back two pigs, and he say, ‘Honey I know where we’re gonna move to. Texas,’” Sarimah said. “I was like, ‘Texas? Not in my bucket list.’” she said with a hearty laugh.
The couple made the leap of faith. Todd quit his lucrative job as a personal chef and brought his family and his impressive cooking credentials to the Lone Star State.
“You know what, I say, go for it,” Sarimah said.
In 2016, Harvest became a reality as Chef Todd turned into the coolest culinary cat in Comanche.
“We’re very fortunate that they came from California where he was working and decided to settle in Comanche,” Shannon said.
While dinner is divine, some of Todd’s most sought-after snacks are his sandwiches. He creates a seasonal panini, the standard reuben and some peppermint crème brulee to put a bow around it.
“We got the Reuben sandwich,” Todd said.
Todd takes his brined and boiled in beer brisket, sliced thin and pairs it with sauerkraut on the sear top. Marble rye bread gets buttered up and slathered with thousand island. Stack it with swiss, and this sandwich is ready for St. Nick. The sandwich for the season is a Christmas panini that starts with cranberry sauce on sourdough. Roasted pork and gouda cheese complete the ensemble. Press it, and our present is ready. Throw in some peppermint creme brulee and Christmas is complete.
While cooking the meal, a few large paintings that filled the kitchen like the light from the northern star caught my eye.
“That’s Jesus healing the blind,” Todd said.“I do a little painting. In the bathroom … you walk in our employee bathroom, every single wall is covered in paintings.”
After a statement like that, the bathroom was a must-see.
“I don’t know, it’s a lot to look at when you come in here,” Todd said. “And I’m afraid, I don’t know, I don’t wanna get oil and grease on ’em. But yeah, it’s very bright, colorful, happy.”
Looking at these incredible works of art buried in the back bathroom helps you to start to understand Todd and Sarimah’s faith and what formed it.
“I was in a motorcycle accident 13 years ago,” Todd said. “I was coming down a hill, and they pulled out in front of me, they didn’t see me. I basically, high-sided. I landed flat-face on the concrete. My pancreas was torn in half. My spleen ruptured, my lungs collapsed … one of my lungs collapsed. I spent in the hospital for three months. And really, I’ve come out of this whole thing, and I’ve had no … like I’m completely healed. I mean, I had a lot of prayer, and I have had no effects afterward, so I’m really thankful to God for that.”
Harvest is more than just restaurant with really good food. It’s a story of following a path with passion and letting the light from above lead the way. Celebrating community, life and the holidays from a table that all can gather makes Harvest an incredible stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“It’s a blessing in our backyard,” Shannon said.