FIND YOUR SOUTHERN COMFORT at FARMSTEAD 303.
Walking out each night from her highly successful restaurant, Feast, and seeing across the street the historic Decatur Train Depot sitting vacant must have been bothersome to the highly energetic Teri Rogers. This past year, Teri decided to transform this 1891 building into Farmstead 303, a nostalgic yet classy farm-to-table concept eatery that focuses on tasty southern comfort foods.
Settle into some soulful munchies at the farm bar while the talented bar-master, Derek Bomback, prepares a thirst-quenching drink that guarantees to get that cozy feeling going. The Ginger-Rosemary Lemon Drop will cause the jaw to literally drop- totally off the chart good. In addition to Farmstead’s signature cocktails, there is a well-assembled affordable wine and beer list, including Decatur’s own Wild Harvest Beer.
The kitchen creations are managed by the highly talented executive chef, Denver Richardson (Watershed, Miller Union) who adds his own unique twist to some southern classics. The locally milled fried blue cheese grits on a bed of arugula with a savory tomato gravy is a great way to start the munch- these somewhat earthy treats are extremely addicting. There is also, a Southern Sampler plate that has an assortment of goodies including pimento cheese, Jalapeño hushpuppies, tasty deviled eggs, and outstanding house-made pickles. My fav is the flash fried cauliflower – these delicacies have a crisp crunch yet retain a firm moist texture - ask for the trio of sauces, pepper jelly, creamy horseradish, and the tangy vinaigrette- love that diversity.
Like Feast, there are some outstanding salads that display the seasonal treasures from the farm. But it’s the supper menu that truly showcases Chef Richardson’s skills, as there are many mouth-watering entrees to choose from. The succulent organic root beer braised pork chop with buttery steamed cabbage, and whipped sweet potatoes defines the meaning of comfort food. Can’t go wrong with the robust flavored crispy pan seared duck breast that’s cooked to perfection and served with pancetta-roasted garlic Brussels sprouts, and candied carrots- it’s so yummy. But the Springer Mountain southern fried half chicken with a velvety Mac-n-cheese, and collards cooked in a sassy pot liquor is not to be missed. The chicken is brined for 24 hours then dipped in a buttermilk batter, and the result is a perfectly crisp crust on the outside and most moist tender bird you’ll find in the city- no need for hot sauce here, it’s too good as is.
Equally satisfying to the soul are the southern inspired treats. Teri is known for her famous Piggly Wiggly Bread Pudding that was a landmark dessert at Pearl’s Café in Tennessee. But meeting its equal is the apricot and apple bread pudding with a most delectable white chocolate sauce, what a way to end a meal. After finding that feeling of southern comfort, simply close your eyes, settle in and enjoy Farmstead 303.
Citysearch Editorial Review.
Sitting in a retired train depot just off the tracks in Decatur, Farmstead is casual Southern dining at its finest. A large blackboard at the front of the restaurant is scrawled with the seasonal items and what farm they came from, immediately verifying their inspiration and commitment to locally sourced ingredients. And the menu is a wonderful roots-inspired collection of regional favorites: pimento cheese, deviled eggs, fried flounder, sliced tomatoes, hush puppies. Of the entrees, fried chicken (that comes with three pieces) boasts a crispy-seared outer crust that validates why pan-fried is the preferred frying method in the South. North Carolina-style barbecue pulled pork (available in a sandwich or a plate) has just the right amount of vinegar zing to it, and will please even the toughest NC ‘cue critic. Of the desserts, the casualness of the cupcake de jour provides a proper end to the meal.