In the small town of Uxbridge, among the fences and farms, tucked away atop a hill, is a truly remarkable restaurant. Where the ingredients are local, the flavors are bold, and the atmosphere is always festive.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “It’s like, a really great family party, except the food is better.”
So do yourself a favor and set your GPS for The UXLocale.
Opened about six years ago, on the site of a former dairy farm, The UXLocale is a dream come true for chef-owner Elaine Cowan.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “I always wanted to do this, but I wanted it to be like you’re visiting your favorite aunt’s house or, you know, young aunt’s house.”
So she created a comfortable 100 seat dining room filled with country décor, a gorgeous patio with string lights and stone walls, and a menu inspired by regional Italian recipes and Neapolitan style pizzas.
Then she just hoped people would find the place.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “We’re in the middle of nowhere, literally. We’re not directly off any route. When I was first opened, I was like, ‘Who the hell do I think I am? Who’s gonna come?’ I never opened a restaurant before.”
But if you build it, they will come, and once customers discover The UXLocale, they never leave.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “I wanted it to be the spot. Like you come you meet your neighbors here and you hang out and there’s no rushing anybody out. The food comes out a little bit slower, but it’s going to be great and you’re not going to want to leave.”
The atmosphere here may feel like home, but the food is a heck of a lot better than what you’d whip up in your own kitchen. Because Elaine and her team take the time to make everything from scratch, and put together amazing flavors, while keeping it all deliciously approachable.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “I call it slow Italian food. It’s kind of like peasant food. Very, very simple dishes. Like nothing’s fussy. There’s not probably more than six ingredients in anything that I make. But the flavor is amazing.”
And a mouthwatering example of that sensational simplicity is Elaine’s Sausage and Vodka Sauce over Pappardelle.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “It starts with the crumbled sausage and fresh rosemary, and then caramelized onions and a ladle of sauce. And once that all cooks down, then I add the cream and cheese and pasta and it’s a very layered dish and the individual layers have so many flavors.”
And the real star of this dish is the homemade sausage.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “The sausage recipe is a family recipe. And that’s one dish I just never tired of eating. And so many people feel the same way because it’s like one of the things I sell the most of.”
Another top seller is the Tomato Carbonara with Burrata and Prosciutto.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “You start with garlic and a really good olive oil. Grape tomatoes roasted off, they go in. Then crispy prosciutto. And when that all cooks down, we add the burrata cheese. So that kind of like breaks open, add the pasta, and then you add the egg yolk and that just creams together top it with crispy prosciutto and it’s got the right balance of salt and fat and the brightness from the tomatoes. And then the freshness with the fresh herbs. It’s something special. It really is.”
To start your meal at The UXLocale, there are plenty of great options, like hand-rolled Meatballs steeped in marinara, a huge platter of housemade chips and dip, and an even bigger platter of imported meats, local cheeses, fresh fruit, and grilled crostini.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “Whenever I drop one of those onto a table, they’re always taken back, and they’re like, ‘it’s so much food.’ You’ll have it for tomorrow. You know.”
The other big portion of the menu here belongs to pizza, Neapolitan style, cooked at 750 degrees, in full view of the dining room, by a team of creative pizza makers, including Elaine’s daughter Toni, who trades in her day job at an accounting firm to throw dough on the weekends.
Toni Cowan – Pizza Maker: “We make the dough from scratch every single day. We use a blend of double zero flour and regular flour. And we use a sourdough starter that my brother made and the dough recipe he made himself.”
And that dough is the base for traditional pies like the Margherita, with fresh pomodoro tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, and some no-so-traditional ones, like the ‘Murica pizza.Toni Cowan – Pizza Maker: “The ‘Murica pizza is with red sauce, it has shredded mozzarella, dry rubbed chicken, caramelized onions, candied bacon and roasted red peppers. And my favorite part is the candied bacon. Instead of just having like regular bacon, we bake it every day and brown sugar and black pepper and it just like adds that little bit of sweetness to the pizza. It’s delicious.”
Another creative pizza here is the Mac Daddy, topped with all the classic fast food burger ingredients.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “All beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame pizza.”
But for a real meaty meal, no pizza satisfies like the Steak Bomb. This white pizza is topped with piles of shaved Angus beef, and served with a cup of au jus.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “So you dip the actual pizza into the au jus, which is just fire. It’s delicious.”
And just like everything on the menu here, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be fantastic.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m not looking for a Michelin star. I just want to make really flavorful, wholesome food that a family can come and eat. And it’s something to come out into the dining room and see people enjoying their food, it’s a feeling, it’s a vibe up here, that’s just special, and it’s unique.”
And it’s all summed up quite nicely by the Italian phase on the back the shirts worn by the staff here.
Elaine Cowan – Chef/Owner, The UXLocale: “La dolce vita sulla collina. The sweet life on the hill. I feel like we encompass the sweet life up here. We’ve got great food. We have live music, we have beautiful sunsets, and it’s just the sweet life. It’s everything that’s good in one spot.”