Founding Farmers $$
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1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
HOURS: Breakfast Mon.-Fri. 8-11 a.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.,
lunch and dinner Mon. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.,
Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight,
Sat. 2 p.m.-midnight, Sun. 2-10 p.m.
COST: Most entrées between $10–20
Shortly after it opened, Travel + Leisure magazine named Founding Farmers one of the country’s best new restaurants. Its concept appeals to the green at heart—a dining room in an environmentally certified building that serves sustainable and local cuisine, the restaurant itself being owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union.
Its execution is less than perfect, but on several levels, Founding Farmers delivers. First, it’s among the few places in town that strives to serve regional ingredients and actually be affordable, and second, its effort to be “green” extends to the menus printed in soy ink on recycled paper, organic cleaning products, and biodegradable paper products and trash bags.
At night, the bar and large communal tables on the first floor pack in crowds that include students from nearby George Washington University and policy workers from the International Monetary Fund, which shares its building. The upstairs dining room is quieter, a place to savor the vast eclectic menu.
The Southern dishes seem to work here—fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, shrimp, and grits. The desserts are pleasing gargantuan servings of cheesecake and carrot cake.
Warning: The portions are huge at Founding Farmers; Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema has called it an eco-friendly version of the Cheesecake Factory.
© Patricia Nevins Kime from Moon Washington DC, 1st Edition