NDFU opening second restaurant in capitalThe North Dakota Farmers Union is planning to open a second restaurant in the nation’s capital next month, this time focusing on sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly dining. The new restaurant will be called Founding Farmers. It is a sister restaurant to Agraria, the restaurant opened by the farmers union in 2006.
By: By Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
WASHINGTON — The North Dakota Farmers Union is planning to open a second restaurant in the nation’s capital next month, this time focusing on sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly dining.
The new restaurant will be called Founding Farmers. It is a sister restaurant to Agraria, the restaurant opened by the farmers union in 2006.
Founding Farmers will be in the heart of downtown Washington, less than a mile from Agraria, which is on the Potomac River in the city’s Georgetown neighborhood.
The opening of the new restaurant was announced by Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group, the restaurant consultants who have helped develop it. The group issued a statement saying Founding Farmers is “ready to answer the country’s growing hunger for more green restaurants.”
Like Agraria, the new outpost will be mainly owned by farmer investors and will feature “farm to table” cuisine. That means individual farmers sell their goods directly to the restaurant, eliminating middlemen used by most other restaurants. The North Dakota Farmer’s Union came up with the idea to try to boost farmer profits and successfully market the food they produce.
Since opening in the summer of 2006, Agraria has not always been as successful as the Farmers Union had hoped. The restaurant got off to an ominous start with the chef quitting a day before it opened. A new chef was hired a short time later.
In late 2007, the group overhauled the management to increase profitability and efficiency — a move that appears to have worked, says National Farmers Union President Robert Carlson. He declined to comment on the opening of the new restaurant.
“There have been very significant improvements (at Agraria) and we are very pleased with what the new management team has accomplished,” Carlson said in an interview. “It’s an ongoing process. We still we want to see more business down there at the harbor, but we are pleased.”
Agraria is on Washington Harbor, a picturesque part of the city that is a bit farther away from the daily foot traffic of lobbyists, lawyers and other Washington workers who seek out expense-account lunches and dinners.
Jennifer Motruk Loy, a spokeswoman for Founding Farmers, said Agraria will focus on making money by catering to tourists — many of whom visit Georgetown — and larger private events that can take advantage of the restaurant’s large size and multiple private rooms.
The owners hope Founding Fathers will attract more businesspeople and local guests with its prime location on Pennsylvania Ave., in the middle of downtown and just three blocks from the White House.
“There are over 60,000 people who work within two minutes of that location,” Motruk Loy said.
The 8,500 square foot, two-story restaurant will feature “homemade traditional American classics inspired by the heartland,” the Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group says. But the group’s statement also emphasizes the food won’t be “kitschy country cooking.”
Dishes will include breakfasts (“fresh-baked biscuits, breads and pastries, omelets, pancakes, and all the breakfast trimmings”), lunches (“big, hearty rustic farm sandwiches and soups”) and comfort foods (“colorful green salads with just-picked vegetables, a variety of pot pies, prime cuts, pot roast, and roasted chicken”).
The bar will include organic vodkas, family-distilled Bourbons and “small batch brewery beers,” the group said.
The restaurant was built with the environment in mind, designed to comply with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements. LEED is a third-party certification for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.
The building will have green-sourced power, booth seating made of recycled steel and it is designed to bring in a lot of natural light, the developers said. Menus are printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink. House-filtered water will cut down on throwaway bottles.
On the Net:
Founding Farmers: www.wearefoundingfarmers.com