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Founding Farmers opens its biggest location yet in Tysons Corner on Thursday with 12,000-square-feet and a 75-person kitchen team. The sprawling space is fashioned like a Virginia farmhouse. (As much as you can make the ground floor of an office building look like a farmhouse anyway.)
The front of the restaurant is dubbed the “sun tea room” because the shelves along the windows are filled with sun tea. When it’s cloudy, the shelves are outfitted with artificial plant growing lights to mimic the solar rays. From 7 to 10 a.m., Monday through Fridays, the room is transformed into grab-and-go station where people can pick up not just sun tea, but pastries, yogurt, coffee, and other breakfast items. On weekends, there will be a buffet brunch in its place.
In keeping with the house theme, another section of the dining room is meant to look like a living room with banquettes resembling couches. Huge circular booths that seat up to eight and will be enveloped by curtains mimic a bedroom. Other funky design details include art made out of cookie cutters, and a mural of flowering trees with fairies and a monkey pouring a teapot.
A pastry “studio” near the entrance shows off the dessert-making in action, and the U-shaped bar with a barn-like roof is one of the biggest yet with about 30 seats. If you need to make a call, there’s a phone booth, which has no actual phone but does have outlets.
About 60 percent of the menu carries over from Founding Farmers’ other locations in Montgomery county and D.C. Among the new items: porchetta, a fried eggplant marinara, beer can chicken, a chivito sandwich, and an expanded section of handmade pastas. Chef Joe Goetze says the restaurant has begun butchering down sides of beef, too. And while Founding Farmers is known for its fried chicken and waffles, the dish is swapped for spicy fried chicken and maple cream-filled doughnuts in Tysons Corner. Oyster are also new to the restaurant, as are oyster shooters, which come in flavors like cucumber mint with sparkling wine, ginger grapefruit with gin, and coconut pineapple with rum. Rather than floating in the liquid, the Rappahannock bivalves come on the half-shell with the booze on the side. Desserts are also different, although carrot and red velvet cakes remain. Now, you’ll find a 21-layer crepe cake, cobblers, and more doughnuts.
Compass Coffee supplies the coffee, which is dispensed from a fancy new automated pour-over system. Also a first for the Tysons Corner location: a cold-pressed “farm health” juice cleanse. While juice shops have proliferated across the D.C. area, Founding Farmers is the first full-service restaurant to offer a cleanse.
Beverage Director Jon Arroyo has come up with a series of six juices that you can order for $65 day, up to three days. To reserve a pack, you’ll have to call with at least two days notice, and pick-up will be available on weekdays only. Juices will be available individually during breakfast hours. (You can read more of Y&H’s feelings about juice cleanses here.)
If you’re more into a beer cleanse than one filled with kale and carrots, Founding Farmers sells growlers to go. Taps pour exclusively Virginia brews. Wines include Founding Farmers’ proprietary “barn white,” which Arroyo hopes to eventually accompany with a red that’s exclusive to the restaurant group. Cocktails are mostly sourced from the Founding Farmer’s other locations, except for drinks like the “Tysons Julep” and “Barnyard Gin Rickey.” “I like to use the word barn any chance I get,” Arroyo says.
Check out more photos and menus below.
Founding Farmers, 1800 Tysons Blvd., Tysons Corner, Va.; (703) 442-8783; wearefoundingfarmers.com/tysons-va
Photos by Jessica Sidman