Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Gilbert’s Provisions open in Berlin

(July 14, 2016) Charcuterie and cheese lovers have a new heaven in Berlin, and its name is Gilbert’s Provisions.
The new shop opened last Friday on 25 Commerce Street, suite B, behind Bruder Hill, just off the town’s Main Street.
Inside, customers can browse a large display case filled with more than a dozen different exotic cheeses, along with several types of prosciutto, mortadella and homemade foie gras and chicken liver terrine.
On the adjacent walls are jars of fermented goods, from pickles to fennel carrots, along with several types of sea salts, crostini and local coffee. T-shirts, tote bags, magnets and other branded items are set up on a display table.
At the center of the operation is Berlin resident Toby Gilbert, an acclaimed local chef and son of NEST owner Dee Gilbert.
“We were packed on Friday,” he said. “As soon as I opened the doors I had people in here, and I said I was going to close at 9, but I think I was here until 11 p.m.
“People were buying good cheese, and that made me happy,” he added. “It gave me a lot of confidence for the future because everybody was so excited about everything.”
Along with the allure of spreading his love for high quality and hard-to-find foods in the town where he grew up, Gilbert opened the shop to get away from the rat race of running a contemporary kitchen – places that have notoriously long hours and high levels of stress.
“[The shop] is a lot of work, but it’s lower stress level and it’s a more personal kind of work,” he said. “I’m not behind a wall getting beat up on a line. I actually get to talk to people and get to make food that I’m really into. So far it’s been really great – and I got the schmoozing ability from my dad. I’ll give him credit for that.”
Gilbert put a heavy emphasis on “being green” when he put the shop together, from the branded bags, to the brown paper packaging used to wrap meats and cheeses, to the eco-friendly insulation in the walls, the concrete poured into the floors, the reclaimed wooden counters and the cleaners and sanitizers used to keep the shop tidy.
On opening night, Gilbert operated entirely with outsourced goods, although many of them were local, with kombucha and pickles from Pennsylvania, hot sauces from New Jersey and coffee from Rise Up, based in Salisbury.
Meats and cheeses are also found close by, whenever possible.
“I try to go as domestic as possible with cheese – Maryland, Georgia, Vermont, Wisconsin, but I wanted good French brie, and I wanted good gouda from Holland, and pecorino and grana padano and parm from Italy,” he said.
In the future, Gilberts plans to steadily increase the supply of homemade products with an eye towards eventually starting a wholesale operation. Essentially, other shops in the region – and possibly nationwide – would carry his products on their shelves.
On Monday, he baked his first batch of bread in the new shop, and a he is in the process of curing 22 pounds of Duroc pork belly in order to make bacon. That, he said, should be ready in about a week.
“Eventually the plan is to have half of the cooler be all my stuff. And then pretty regularly we’ll have a ricotta and always have a terrine or a pâté of some sort,” he said. “I’m still working on my lab validations for all my ferments. As soon as I get that, I’ll be able to put prepackaged things like quinoa salad and cucumber salad – things like that.
“The goal, hopefully within a year or so, is to get space for a commissary so I can kind of take the production out of this building and have a full-on kitchen. The idea is to market my ferments as a brand,” Gilbert added.  
All of that, he said, will likely happen in Berlin.
“The thing about having this in Ocean City is it would be great for foot traffic, but the clientele would just be different,” he said. “I want to keep it in Berlin. I really like biking to work and not having to drive an hour to work, and being like a son of the town I can see what we need just because I’ve been here. It’s all my people, and everyone knows me. That’s pretty nice.”
Gilberts Provisions is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week. The shop is closed on Tuesday.
For more information, call 410-973-2334 or search Gilbert’s Provisions on Facebook.