Want to get a table at Washington D.C.’s Founding Farmers? Then you better make a reservation—because, according to OpenTable, everyone else already is.
The online reservation platform announced today that the Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant is their most booked restaurant. According to Dan Simons, co-founder of Farmers Restaurant Group, they handle an estimated 1,500 reservations a day, and 90% of the diners book ahead of time.
What’s the draw? The location, certainly: the restaurant is right by many of the city’s main tourist attractions and offices. “You can see anyone from a Supreme Court Justice to a college kid from George Washington University, to K-Street power brokers, to tourists visiting D.C. from the Midwest,” says Simon. Then, there’s the hours: Founding Farmers is open 365 days a year for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Its mission is another compelling factor. As the name implies, Founding Farmers is majority-owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union—meaning its 47,000 members have a stake in its success. “It’s entirely different thing than just farm to table,” says Simons. “We built a business model that would allow farmers to participate and get a greater share of the food dollar in America.
Because to be a strong country, you need a strong independent farming community.” Most of its cuisine is locally and responsibly sourced: for example, they serve Chesapeake Bay catfish, an invasive species, to help control the population. “If you want to save the Bay, you should be eating that Chesapeake catfish,” says Simon, though the restaurant’s most popular dish is chicken and waffles. (Simons says he’s personally partial to the Farmer Salad: lettuce, avocado, dates, tomatoes, grapes, almonds, olives, parmesan cheese, all dressed with champagne and sherry vinaigrette.)