The Farmers Restaurant Group is a powerhouse in the Washington, D.C. area. Over the last nine years, they’ve opened three locations of the hyper-popular Americana infused Founding Farmers (D.C., Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Potomac, Maryland), as well as the sister concepts Farmers Fishers Bakers and Farmers and Distillers.
For their first restaurant outside the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia), the group considered a few potential locations, including downtown Philadelphia and Boston. Ultimately, they decided on King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia. “I saw a really good recipe there,” says owner Dan Simons. “There’s a mindful population that was paying attention. There is a demand for food, yet it’s all corporate chains. And so, I felt there was unmet demand for an independent restaurant.”
The geography was a strong factor. “It was the best market for us that our people could still drive to,” explains Simons, who clocks the ride between his home outside the District to the latest location at just under two and a half hours. “I want to keep the talent close to the guest.”
The new restaurant is powered by a combination of locals who trained at one of the D.C. locations over the last year, alongside veterans from the concepts who moved up to the area. “You need to take it slow,” says Simons. “It’s like farming. It takes time to produce a Founding Farmers caliber chef or bartender.”
The two-floor project takes up an impressive 14,000 square feet. On the ground level, there’s a café and creamery where customers can grab ‘n’ go or get a full-service diner-style experience. The on-site bakery stocks the cases with bagels (a new venture for the team), nearly a dozen types of doughnuts, and a plethora of pastries. The coffee program features a friend from the District: Compass Coffee’s exclusive First Bake blend, which was designed in partnership with the restaurant group. Housemade ice creams, sodas, and pizzas fill out the menu.
Offering breakfast, lunch, and the main restaurant lives on the second floor, accommodating 264 diners. There are another 24 seats at the bar, which is featuring the restaurant’s line of Founding Spirits, which includes vodka, whiskey, and amaro. Each section of the restaurant is its own microclimate, including one evoking a living room, one with a sunroom vibe, and a private dining room dubbed the General’s Parlor hidden behind a bookcase. Though both the aesthetic and the menu (which offers some of the greatest hits from the other locations, as well we new selections) have a lot in common with the other locations of the restaurant, Simons feels that the brand is evolving. “It’s our new version of Founding Farmers,” he says.
Next up in the evolution and expansion? The opening of the fifth Founding Farmers in Reston, Virginia, in the first quarter of next year, followed by remodels of the Founding Farmers in D.C. and Potomac. Then, Simons promises, they’re going to take a break 18 months or so before they make their next move. “We have the structure to control our own destiny,” he says. “We’re going to do it our way.”