Erin and I have been waiting for Founding Farmers to open in Park Potomac for what has seemed like an eternity. This location is the second restaurant (original restaurant is in DC) the owners have opened and they seem to have done a mighty fine job!
Located right off 270 at the Montrose Road exit (next to Harris Teeter), the restaurant is easily accessible although parking is a bit of a pain. Our reservations were at 8:00p; being right in the midst of prime dinner time, we had to park in the parking garage that charges an hourly fee. If you’d prefer not to pay for parking, you can easily park in the Harris Teeter parking lot and make the short walk over.
The atmosphere when we walked in was very hustle and bustle. There were tons of groups waiting to be seated, all tables were full and the bar was packed, but the staff seemed to be handling the business fairly well. The setting is pretty casual; the staff wear jeans and plaid shirts and the décor consisted of corrugated metal and exposed wood with touches of modern elements.
The menu is pretty big — everything from mini burgers, salads and wings, to flatbreads and sandwiches, to gourmet hotdogs, hamburgers, crabrolls, and shrimp rolls, to free-range meat and fish, to homemade noodles and, last but not least, fried chicken (I’m looking at you, Mom)! We ordered a couple appetizers that were delicious, we had the chips and dips and the onion and brie flatbread. The homemade potato chips came with three dips, one Cajun, one onion, and one spinach; all were very good although the onion was my favorite. The onion and brie flatbread was delicious and a must try; it was a crusty bread served with a thin slice of brie, a thin slice of apple, and a smear of onion marmalade.
For dinner we decided on the northern fried chicken and the chicken potpie. The chicken potpie was not your traditional dish; instead of it being served in a pie shell with a crust on top, the deliciously creamy chicken and vegetable mixture was served in a bowl with a homemade biscuit on top. The taste was much different from any other potpie I’ve ever tried but it was very good (Erin is probably have the leftovers as I’m writing this). The northern fried chicken was great! It was two pieces of crispy fried, deboned, non-greasy chicken that was spiced nicely and very moist. The dish was served with fried potato latkes (a little hard for my liking) that were accompanied with a bit of applesauce and dill sauce.
The drink menu is nearly as big as the food menu and the drinks were delicious! The bar puts a modern, fun twist on a lot of classic cocktails and offers a big selection of craft beers. It took us about 10 minutes to decide what we were going to drink but Erin finally decided on the Gin Elizabeth (a Gin cocktail with orange juice, lime juice and bitters) and I ordered a Gin and tonic (boringggg). My drink was very good although Erin’s drink was served with a heaping mound of crushed ice that soon watered down the cocktail.
The service was very good. I’m always a little worried visiting a new restaurant within the first couple weeks because it seems that the staff is usually still trying to find their groove. The waitress was very attentive, gave us the time we needed, and we were never waiting on food or drinks.
Overall this is a good restaurant for comfort food in Montgomery County; I don’t believe you can get this type of food anywhere else in the Rockville/Potomac/Bethesda area so it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind establishment. With items like fried chicken, chicken potpie, pork chops, meatloaf, and macaroni and cheese on the menu, it’s not a place you’re likely to visit on a recurring basis, but it’s a good treat if you’re looking for some comfort food or if you have company and you’re looking for a different restaurant to go to. I have to say, the hype of Founding Farmers really set the bar high; I don’t think it was amazing or wonderful but it was good and something out of the ordinary. I’m certain that we’ll return to Founding Farmers but I’m eager to try some of the other items on the menu (now that I have my yearly fried chicken fix out of the way ) – the burgers, salads, and other appetizers look great.