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All the Info on Farmers & Distillers from Founding Farmers Folks Opening in November

by Prince Of Petworth August 3, 2016 at 10:40 am 19 Comments

9_Farmers & Distillers_Courtesy of GrizForm Design Architects
Courtesy of GrizForm Design Architects

From a press release:

“Farmers Restaurant Group introduces the newest addition to their collection of farmer-owned restaurants, Farmers & Distillers, at 600 Massachusetts Avenue. The restaurant is targeted to open in November of 2016.

FRG is behind the success of the award-winning Founding Farmers DC, and the popular MoCo’s Founding Farmers, Founding Farmers Tysons, and Farmers Fishers Bakers at the Georgetown Waterfront in DC. Farmers & Distillers is majority owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, and has a variety of investors ranging from National Farmers Union, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and a number of private individuals that share a passion for supporting and promoting sustainable agriculture and green business practices.


Farmers & Distillers embodies the true enterprising spirit of the original founding father, George Washington. His collaborative nature and keen eye for opportunity brought together an entire country, and also made him an entrepreneur ahead of his time. He experimented with progressive farming techniques at his Mount Vernon estate, and established what became the largest distillery in America at the turn of the 18th century.

In celebration of George Washington and the nation’s capital both then and now, the Farmers & Distillers menu showcases cuisines from a variety of influences found all around DC. There is inspiration from neighboring Chinatown with hand-pulled noodles, shaobing (Chinese flatbread) and farmers-style dumplings. You’ll find crispy pork schnitzel recalling the original German immigrants working on DC’s east side; GW loved European cooking techniques, which are being utilized in dishes like Pot au Feu (slow cooked short rib) and Bouillabaisse. Every decision was pulled through the filter of “What would George do?” be it with flavor, plate ware, cooking technique, or design.

“I’m crazy excited for Farmers & Distillers; creating an entirely new concept and ensuring it grows from our original farmer-owned DNA is both challenging and inspiring,” said owner, Dan Simons. “We set the highest bar for ourselves that we could imagine, and our team is absolutely crushing it with the details of bringing the idea to life.”

Executive Pastry Chef, Amanda King, has built upon her from-scratch pastry signatures and is bringing delicious, new sweet treats to the table such as made to order donut ice cream sandwiches, corn cake with blueberry filling, cream cheese icing, served with roasted corn ice cream, and Chocolate Chess Pie, served with toasted marshmallow ice cream.

Guests will enjoy their experience in the 12,000 square foot space, designed by the GrizForm Design Architects team that also designed Founding Farmers Tysons and Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown. Designed to meet LEED Gold Certification standards, the restaurant has been organized with stylistic representations of rooms and microclimates inspired by the spirit of George Washington, who would seize every opportunity to make each space spectacular by modern day standards.

“Mt. Vernon Square gave us the ultimate location for our George Washington inspired restaurant and distillery,” said Simons. “As a unique sibling to Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers, we’ve created an entirely new food and drink menu, and a never before seen design.”

The restaurant has captured Washington’s love of entertaining and created different areas of the restaurant to attract every type of guest. From the barn room – a quiet, intimate space inspired by the flow and twinkle of a barn bathed in candlelight – to the pleasure garden, an energetic space adjacent to the bar with beautiful botanical installations suspended from the ceiling.

Below the dining room on the concourse level is the kitchen, as well as the slightly tucked away 16-seat private dining room called The General’s Parlor. The General’s Parlor will offer special menus, a built in wet bar available for guests that would like cocktails made to order, IT equipment for business meetings, and more. This room is available by reservation only.

Farmers & Distillers will also have an on-site distillery, just as GW did at his Mt. Vernon home. The distillery is named Founding Spirits, and while this is a new adventure for the Farmers Restaurant Group team, they have an excellent partner and mentor along for the journey, Rick Wasmund, of Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, VA.

The bar program is led by FRG Beverage Director Jon Arroyo, and will showcase house-made spirits, as well as Founding Farmers’ proprietary line of Rye Whisky and Gin, FRG proprietary wines from vineyards in Virginia and New York, and 12 beer taps that will feature only DC, Maryland and Virginia brewed beers. True to the Farmers Restaurant Group brand, the cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages will include fresh house-made syrups, elixirs and bitters.

Farmers & Distillers will be open early and serve until late seven days a week. The restaurant will offer full service breakfast, First Bake (grab & go style breakfast), lunch, dinner, and weekend buffet brunch styled after the highly popular farmers market buffet brunch found at Founding Farmers Tysons and Farmers Fishers Bakers.”

  • lisavfr
    • Emi G

      yes we’re all familiar with this attention-seeking review

  • womp

    3 blocks from home …. *one last parting kiss to my paycheck*

  • SG

    I am by no means a “foodie” but I eat out… a lot. Places of every range and budget (except Komi/Pineapples & Pearls/Barmini… too rich for my blood). I find myself disagreeing with Tom Sietsema very often. His reviews are a bit curmudgeonly and elitist for my taste (think the critic in Ratatouille). Likewise, his scathing critique of Founding Farmers seems a bit like a hit piece, perhaps with something personal involved or maybe just to generate buzz/clicks. I have always had at least tasty meals at Founding Farmers (eaten at all locations except Rockville). A zero star review should be reserved for Applebee’s or worse. FF’s has good, fresh ingredients and is pleasing to most people, even folks I know who like great food at traditionally well-rated establishments. A bit off topic, but just one man’s defense of a place I enjoy…

    • Tsar of Truxton

      0 stars might have been harsh, but it really is mediocre at best. I am pretty sure his rating system does not include chains. They would be a negative on the scale, i.e., not worth rating. 1 Star seems about right if you ask me, but he was trying to make a point because the place is so busy for no apparent reason. There are way too many good restaurants in this city for me to consider wasting any money at FF. I think that was basically his point.

    • dcd

      I hate the term foodie, but I know a fair amount about cooking, restaurants, and food in general (and spend an inordinate amount of time reading about all of the above), and strategically eat out. Some chains would get better than a 0, because they do simple things, do them adequately (if barely) and are budget-sensitive. The FF chain has delusions of grandeur, is mediocre on a good day, and is overpriced with respect to quality. A 0 may be harsh, but it’s within the margin of error.

      • jim_ed

        Agreed. I thought the 0 stars was tough but fair. A bourgeoisie Cracker Barrel on its best days.

        • Orders

          Bourgeoisie Cracker Barrel–that’s perfect. I ordered the chicken pot pie last time I was there. I got a bowl of creamy soup with a rock-hard, large biscuit floating in it.

        • MtP

          This and dcd’s comment are spot-on

        • jsauri

          I’d take Cracker Barrel over Founding Farmers any day of the week.

    • FridayGirl

      “I have always had at least tasty meals at Founding Farmers (eaten at all locations except Rockville).”
      I agree. While Founding Farmer’s doesn’t compete with a lot of the new fancy-shmancy places, and the lines are too long if you don’t make a reservation, I’ve always found the food to be consistent and the service to be totally fine. Would I go out of my way to go? No. Are they above what I’d consider “adequate” or “acceptable” for an office lunch or periodic brunch? Absolutely.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        Yeah, I don’t get the hate for this place. I found it a very clean, prompt, and tasty meal that allowed me to enjoy my time with friends from out of town. I’m not asking for that much.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          There are lots of places to get a “clean, prompt, and tasty meal.” That is precisely the issue with FF. There are many other better options, so why go there? If it had a lower price point, it probably wouldn’t get as much hate, but when you charge $22-30 for entrees you need to stand-out or get crushed by the competition in DC, and it doesn’t.

          • Dave

            It’s realllly not as expensive as that, especially considering the Foggy Bottom location. The review was pretty over the top.


          • LittleBluePenguin

            I don’t know, maybe i’m not enough of a foodie but I thought their food was delicious.

          • FridayGirl

            Tsar — I know prices vary by location, but the last time I went to Founding Farmer’s in Foggy Bottom, the entrees really weren’t that expensive. I paid $12 + tax and tip for a chicken and waffles work breakfast that I could barely finish just a couple weeks ago, which I think is very reasonable. When I used to go with my mom the first few times she visited me, I would always get the Pot Roast for $16 and had leftovers to take home. I totally respect your opinion, but I think it’s worth not judging based on false facts. You don’t like it you don’t like it, and that’s fine.

  • Cleveland Park runner

    But what will Tom Sietsema think?

  • eggs

    You had me at “pleasure garden” Farmers Distillers!

  • v

    Maybe focus on restoring good food at your original location? It’s horrible.


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