While I generally eat at my desk, I chanced to meet a former work colleague for lunch the other day. Neither of us wanted the standard sandwich or pizza, so she suggested we check out The Urban Farmhouse which is located at 12th and Cary in the historic Shockoe Slip.
Stepping inside is somewhat like stepping into the general store of my childhood, or maybe even Grandma’s house. The rustic décor gives the feel of a farmhouse kitchen. Grandma’s kitchen however was never this crowded. That’s a great sign for business, but not always convenient.
The restaurant accommodates around 50 patrons. There were at least that many there on our visit. Still, we found a table and were able to enjoy our lunch near the massive open windows. It was a bit like eating out side without the eating outside part. Even the Richmond lunch crowd is fun to people watch on Cary Street.
The concept of The Urban Farmhouse Market and Café was created by Kathleen Richardson and Justin French, of FRENCH Consulting Company. French said “The location of The Urban Farmhouse Market and Café represents the ideals of both organizations in urban renewal, representing a rapidly growing interest in eco-friendly options where we life and what we eat, including the heart of our city neighborhoods.”
Kathleen Richardson said “From a professional and personal standpoint I feel Richmond was the ideal place to launch the Farmhouse. I grew up here and started my career in the restaurant industry, so personally I was happy to return to my roots. Richmonders have shown they want good, straight-from-the-earth food where they know where it’s been and how it’s been grown.
Sandwiches and salads are made with fresh produce, dairy and naturally raised meats that come from local suppliers on a daily basis. Unfortunately, good straight-from-the-earth-food that’s delivered fresh daily doesn’t translate into an economical choice for lunch. I dropped about fourteen bucks which is roughly about fourteen bucks more than I usually spend on lunch.
In spite of the price, the service was quick and the food was great.
I had the Turkey and Raita with Fresh Mint. That’s described on the menu as “sliced turkey breast topped with fresh mixed greens and our creamy cucumber and fresh mint yogurt spread on Campagne loaf.” It was quite tasty, but to be honest, I tasted a hint of the mint, but I don’t remember the creamy cucumber spread. As sandwiches go, it was a bit dry. But not overly so. If you’re looking for a large deli-type sandwich, large is not the word I would use here. You’re paying for quality, taste and natural, not piles of deli-meat.
I made the right choice of selecting the soup and half sandwich and enjoyed a nice bowl of ginger carrot soup. Soups change on a seasonal basis. The best part is that they’re made with no preservatives, additives, hydrogenated oils or modified food starches. And there are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu.
My friend enjoyed the Farmer’s Grilled Cheese with Hanover Tomatoes and a bowl of gazpacho.
At the counter, with bottle fruit drinks in hand, the server suggested we try the strawberry iced tea. That was a good refreshing choice.
The Urban Farmhouse seems like a great place to hang out for a cup of coffee. And while the food is pricey, the internet is free. It’s the kind of place you go for a nice meal, the experience and maybe to hand out for a while. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick lunch, this isn’t it.
But The Urban Farmhouse is worth a visit. It’s nice addition to Shockoe Bottom. I won’t go back often, but I’ll go back.
Good news for me is that The Urban Farmhouse just recently announced that they’ll be opening a second location in MillWorks at the Green just off of Midlothian Turnpike near Woolridge Road. Plans are for an early November opening.
The Urban Farmhouse Market and Café
1217 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219
804. 325. 3988