1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
Right in the heart of Washington DC’s business district, Founding Farmers is an experiment in bringing upscale, farm-to-table cuisine to the middle of the bustling city. Just blocks from the White House, it’s racked up awards with its interior — classy and evoking the dark, dank interior of a farmhouse and yet crisp and modern in presenting that — as well as its food. Locally-sourced ingredients where possible combine for great signature items like pot roast, pork chops and meatloaf. The variety of food in DC continues to amaze me. This restaurant brings something really great.
The food is a mixture of traditional pub fare and country kitchen-style comfort foods. It’s really surprising to see that kind of a concept in the heart of a downtown as sprawling as DC, but every meal time, the place almost immediately has a line out the door. What I’ve tried:
- Burgers: The basic burger is a third-pound delight grilled until browned on both sides and dressed simply with pickles, onions, tomato and lettuce. The basic cheeseburger is a no-frills delight, but it also comes as a chili cheeseburger, topped with goat cheese, avocado bacon, or something else. Bite into it and you’re immediately struck by the juicy meat — cooked to order — with a nice seared edge.
- Devil-ish eggs: The local take on deviled eggs. The classic recipe has eggs simply seasoned with large-grain salt and pepper, and there’s also a seafood option if you prefer that.
The restaurant is a typical DC lunch spot — in that it’s extremely crowded, even before lunch starts. If you’re coming in during the meal rush, I highly recommend a reservation, unless you like to wait a long time. At ten till noon, that wait was already up to 45 minutes, so if you’re a business person, it’s not even worth a try without a reservation. But the people inside are smart, professional, and most importantly, good at handling the large crowd and getting food out quickly and without too much hassle.
Restaurant concepts of all kinds thrive in downtown DC, in part because the city has so many people from so many parts of the country and world. But it’s especially interesting to see a concept like this — pioneering upscale versions of what in other places would be pretty mundane food. You’ll find this place a surprise, and the awards it has won are well deserved. I highly recommend it as a stop for a meal or a drink.
- Reservations are simply a must during the work week. But the upstairs bar especially clears out a bit during those off-hours.
- Go for the comfort food here — while it sounds pedestrian at first, it’s top notch stuff.
- The bar is a pretty good place which clears out during the off-rush hours.