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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Wed 8:00am–10:00pm
Thu 8:00am–11:00pm
Fri 8:00am–midnight
Sat noon–midnight
Sun 10:00am–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly, kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 822-8783
Founding Farmers
Let’s do this thing!

Founding Farmers is the populist answer to the DC steakhouse. Owned by a cooperative of farmers and proudly located in a LEED-certified space, it ushers in an era of eco-conscious dining. The airy, well-appointed interior looks like it could be serving any fare, but the pastoral accents, like rows of giant jars that proudly display the vibrant hues of pickled vegetables, drive home the ethic. It feels warm and lively, effervescent with activity and honest pride, from the constant thrum of diners to the small army of cooks prepping and assembling dishes in the open kitchen window.

We don’t know if it’s just the high of knowing you are doing a good thing and doing it well—or maybe it’s the popcorn machine in view—but there’s definitely a merriness at hand. Simple, popular American fare is given a magic touch. Many basic elements of dishes are house-made, like thick rashers of bacon, deep brown and kissed with sweetness; dense and hearty bread; and handmade pastas that produce thick pillows of perfectly al-dente ravioli, bursting with earthy butternut squash in the fall. Deviled eggs are a sinful treat, with creamy, melty insides that would shame any drab church picnic’s. A cheese platter gleefully shouts, “We Want the Funk, Give up the Funk!” No, really. It’s named this because the cows who produce its milk spend all day in a warm barn listening to jazz. After all, it’s been proven that happy, mellow animals do produce better cheese. (Hey, wouldn’t you?) A grilled-cheese sandwich layers gruyère and cheddar in the homemade bread which, when paired with a bowl of fresh tomato soup, is as nostalgic and comforting as your inner child wants, but much more complex and grown up than you remember.

Eating food raised responsibly and prepared carefully and with simplicity and skill is immensely satisfying. Founding Farmers honors the multitudes that have a hand in shaping your meal; the many brows and many hands that have grown and coaxed and shaped. Dining here is participation, an act of recognition, joy, and ultimately, of thanks. It’s unfortunate that this is rare in America, but it is.

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