Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where to Eat: Founding Farmers

As a resident of Georgetown, one my favorite spots I loved to hit up was Farmers and Fishers located on the Georgetown Waterfront. Sadly, after the flooding last spring, the restaurant closed its doors and is not scheduled to re-open until Spring 2012.

Luckily, its sister restaurant, Founding Farmers, is still a bustling busy restaurant in Foggy Bottom. But despite hearing lots of good things about it--- including that Travel and Leisure Magazine had rated it as one of the top 50 restaurants in the United States in 2009--- up until last week, I had never been.

It was a slow Tuesday when my friend, Matt, emailed me to see if I wanted to grab lunch. As someone who always tries to take advantage of the lunch hour on slow days at work (most days I work straight through lunch), I quickly accepted his invitation. We did not make reservations and when we showed up the place was packed. On a random Tuesday in December at 1pm. I always see that as a very good sign but was worried it would be a long wait for a table.

Community table at Founding Farmers
Luckily, we were seated quickly at a "community" table--- a long wooden table that can seat eight or so people. We were sat at one far end. The atmosphere was busy and warm and cozy as our server thoroughly explained the menu to us.

Founding Farmers is owned and operated by the North Dakota Farmers Union- meaning it is owned by real American farmers. Cool concept, huh? The restaurant prides itself on using only fresh produce, meat, and ingredients and almost all of the items they serve, including soda, are made in-house from scratch.

After the server explained the menu to us, we each ordered one of the house-made sodas. I tried the blood orange soda, and Matt had the homemade ginger ale.

Now, as someone who used to work the lunch hour shift at a restaurant, I know that most people do not have time to dilly dally. Service should be quick. So, it was a little disappointing when it took over twenty minutes for our sodas to arrive. It was even more disappointing when it took the server even longer to take our lunch order. But, then again, we were both pretty indecisive with what we wanted to order because everything looked delicious.

I finally settled on the soup of the day, bacon butternut squash. That's right- bacon and butternut squash. Aka, it sounded like heaven. I also ordered the Farmer's Salad- baby lettuce, avocado, dates, tomatoes, red grapes, almonds, and parmesan cheese in a champagne vinaigrette.

Matt ordered the shaved pork sandwich- roasted pork loin, country cured ham, swiss cheese, citrus pickled onions, red peppers, and dijon mustard on ciabatta- and a side of kale. Check out his blog, Third Date Cooking, to learn more about his obsession with kale.

We were chat chatting away about the different holiday parties we had each attended the prior weekend, when we realized that it had been a loooonnnggg time since we had placed our order. Our food did eventually come out, but the wait was exceptionally long.

We dove right in and I was immediately disappointed to find that my soup was only lukewarm. Meaning our food probably sat in the kitchen way longer than it should have. But, the flavors were awesome--- and the salad was packed full of fresh veggies and goodness. As for Matt's sandwich? He said it was great and ate every last bite. He did say that the kale was a little bland and needed something more. But he is a tough critic when it comes to kale.

Bacon Butternut Squash Soup

Farmers Salad

Shaved Pork Sandwich and side of kale

While the service was not the best, and probably the reason why my soup was not hot, the food and the atmosphere made up for it. I have already decided that I want to go back and try this place out for dinner as soon as possible. It seems like the perfect cozy type of restaurant for the cold winter months ahead. I already envision myself sitting at one of the smaller, intimate wooden tables on the second floor, sipping a nice glass of malbec and nibbling on appetizers while the snow is falling outside on Pennsylvania Avenue.


  1. I love the food here, but have had bad (read: slow) service each time I've been. It's disappointing because I love the concept. Honestly, if you like Fisher's and Farmers, I'd skip FF for dinner and wait until Fisher's and Farmers is open again. Or just come out to H st and we'll go to Toki Underground :)

  2. Kate, you have to try Founding Farmers for brunch (if you can ever get in!) - they have this side of homemade english muffins with boisenberry preserves and they are about the best thing i've ever tasted.

  3. Why don't you date your friend Matt? I just stalked his blog and he's cute!

  4. We love Founding Farmers and have even traveled back to it since we left the city. The service has always been slow unfortunately. The food is delicious so we put up with the service to eat there.