Love, Lamb and Anchovies: Hillsboro Couple Launches Catering Biz with a Local Focus

When Alison Badger met her husband, chef Reid Badger, he made her dinner on their second date.

“He asked, ‘What don’t you like?’ I said, ‘Lamb, olives and anchovies.’ He invited me over for lamb provencal (lamb with olives and anchovies),” Alison said. “I loved that dinner he made on our second date. We married about ten months later. … Moral of the story: Try the lamb!”

The Badgers have been serving up local lamb—and local delicacies of all kinds—to hungry western Loudouners for the past six months. The couple opened Between the Hills Events and Catering at the end of 2021 and have become the toast of Hillsboro with their killer multi-course Friday night to-go dinners. Last month, the business officially moved into the former Dinner Belle’s Kitchen in downtown Lovettsville.

Like several other noted local chefs, the pandemic was an impetus to shake things up for Reid Badger, a Culinary Institute of America grad who was the executive chef at The Club at Creighton Farms for a decade before stepping down in August. After 20 years in the private club niche, it was time to start his own business.

“The time had come regardless,” Badger said. “This gives me the opportunity to be a specialist, which you can’t really be in the private club industry. You have to be everything.”

The company is named for their beloved Between the Hills community near Hillsboro, where the Badgers live on an idyllic farmette with their 13-year-old daughter. Living in western Loudoun, with its booming resurgence of small family farms, helped spark the couple’s passion for farm-to-table cooking—and a desire to emphasize local ingredients in their new venture.

The business got rolling with Friday night to-go dinners for “super staunch regulars from restaurant-lacking Hillsboro,” Alison said. And with menus like this week’s—which features spinach and apple salad, polenta and mushroom gratin, roast porchetta from Lovettsville’s Long Stone Farm, Italian style green beans and a lemon and olive oil cake—word is spreading and they’re regularly selling out. The Badgers have also developed partnerships with area bed and breakfasts, allowing customers to pre-order meals for Friday evening arrivals.

Reid Badger spent the first six months of the new business working out of shared kitchen space at Chefscape. But when Dinner Belle’s Kitchen owner Michelle McIntyre let him know she was scaling back her catering operations and invited him to check out the space in downtown Lovettsville, he realized it was a perfect fit.

“We were growing and this provided just the right amount of growth for what we needed,” Badger said. 

Reid Badger is an Arlington native who spent two years at Virginia Commonwealth University before shifting gears and applying to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

“I always had a passion for cooking,” he said. Badger found his niche in the private club culinary world and was executive chef at The City Clubs of Washington before joining Creighton Farms in 2012.

Reid and Alison met when they were living down the street from each other in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. They’ve now been married for 17 years, and are excited about the prospect of building a business together.

“We balance each other out,” said Alison, who will continue in her job as a project coordinator for the Town of Hillsboro while overseeing the administrative side of the family business.

Reid said it was Alison who encouraged him to shift gears when burnout hit last year. 

“Alison was the impetus for us to do this. … I needed a break so bad,” he said. “She encouraged me to do my own thing.”

For Alison, who studied archaeology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, project management is her profession, but food has always been a passion. She spearheaded the Hillsboro Old Stone School’s farm-to-table dinner fundraiser series and has built relationships with numerous western Loudoun farms. Lovettsville’s Long Stone is a favorite, but she hopes to source from family farms around the county for the new business.

“We try to spread the love,” she said.

And while Between the Hills focuses on local products for its Friday night dinners, the Badgers are flexible with catering clients at a range of budgets and source from broadline food vendors too.

The Badgers are introducing themselves to the Lovettsville community and will reopen the retail space in June with family meals, frozen items, cheeses, specialty items, beer and wine.

Meanwhile, their ties with the Hillsboro community they call home remain deep. They’ll be catering locally sourced light fare for the Hillsboro Old Stone School’s literary talk featuring legendary DC chef Nora Pouillon on Saturday. The Badgers will also have Reid’s famous homemade bratwurst and other items for sale at Hillsboro’s early Independence Day celebration slated for Sunday, June 26.

“We’re busy, and we feel really good about it,” Reid said.

For information about Between the Hills Events and Catering and to check out the menu for Friday night dinner, go to betweenthehillsevents.com.

One thought on “Love, Lamb and Anchovies: Hillsboro Couple Launches Catering Biz with a Local Focus

  • 2022-05-21 at 10:58 am
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    Alison & Reid Badger seem like a great couple. I’m pretty much vegan these days. But I’d love to try these items on their menu: Spinach & apple salad; polenta & mushroom gratin; Italian style green beans; and a lemon & olive oil cake. I hope they’re flexible with folks who eat outside the box. Good luck Alison & Reid in your new venture! Happy Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day Loudoun!

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