Since he was a preschooler, Rich Knowles—the eldest of six siblings—was cooking for his family. He grew up fishing, hunting and serving up his catches. At 13, he was already bussing tables at a restaurant.
Today, he owns his own. As the restaurateur/executive chef of the 2014-opened enRich Bistro in Bradenton, Knowles elegantly whips up with Southern, Asian and Cuban delicacies.
“I am from a fifth-generation Bradenton family and I’ve always been passionate about food,” Knowles says. “For enRich, I collected a lot of ideas from steakhouses in Austin, restaurants in Montana and seafood places out on Anna Maria Island to create the menu.”
Knowles’ inspiration comes from his career experiences. In Montana, for example, he cooked under his mentor, chef Scott Mechura, at Timbers Restaurant and the Yellowstone Club. Knowles later moved to Austin, Texas, to help with the opening of Bob’s Steak & Chop House. Then he returned to Bradenton to launch his current venture.
His behind-the-scenes glimpse into the culinary world showed him the importance of using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Knowles now buys his produce from Geraldson’s Farm Market and his sustainable seafood from A.P. Bell Fish Co. in Cortez. He even uses home-cultivated honey.
“I keep the ingredients as local as I possibly can, and that’s a big part of being an ‘Original,’ I think,” Knowles says, adding that regulars often request his Thai pork tacos, Cuban sandwiches and buttermilk-fried chicken. “I only want to serve the highest-quality ingredients. Also, I’m proud of my hometown and it’s important to me to showcase the products that are grown right here in our community.”
enRich Bistro | 5629 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton | 941-792-0990 | enrichbistro.com
Author: Abby Weingarten