Dinner at Founding Farmers in D.C. & A Photo Shoot!

Hey guys!

Hope you’re having nice weekends so far. I’m continuing to enjoy myself here in D.C.! Last night, I went to dinner at Founding Farmers in D.C. with a bunch of my high school BFF’s.


When my friend Jenny suggested Founding Farmers as an option I was really excited since I’ve been wanting to try this place for awhile now! It’s eco-friendly and sustainable and all about fresh, local produce, which I love. She warned the service was really really slow, but said that the food was good. Well, unfortunately not only was the service really slow (waiting 20 minutes before even getting a hello/water), but the food was a total bust, too. I’m sorry to say I will be sharing my very first negative restaurant review!

The decor was cool, I liked the vibe in the restaurant, and I had a great time catching up with the girls, but the food and service totally sucked.


I ordered the fish special of the day — Arctic Char — prepared “Napa Provencal” style with olives, tomato, onions, and capers. Sounds and looks good, right?


Well, unfortunately the fish was dry and pretty bland — the toppings were good but there weren’t enough of them to make the dish tasty. My friend Dinah had the same fish prepared with roasted hazelnut butter, but it was also SUPER dry and with almost no topping.

As for sides… I ordered sautéed greens with bacon (sounded good but was also pretty blah… no idea how you can make something with bacon blah, but they did) and roasted vegetables with barley — which I didn’t receive since our waitress was too cool for school and didn’t write down our orders. Bah. I’m not a fan of that new trend where waiters don’t write things down! They always get something wrong.


Instead of the barley/roasted veggies, I got caramelized cauliflower and artichoke hearts, which sounded good but wasn’t all that tasty, either… just kind of bland/boring. Boo!

My friend Joy ordered the fish as well, and the waitress also messed up her side dish orders. She got the barley, which she didn’t want. This is where things really went south. I mean, waiters mess up side dishes/orders all the time, whatever, no big deal. But please look at the barley on the left side of the plate:


See how half of it was basically black and completely burned or undercooked or something?! It was SO hard it literally almost broke our teeth. I can’t BELIEVE the restaurant served that to us! I told the waitress and she didn’t apologize but she did bring us another side of barley, prepared as it should have been. Check out the difference:


Actually cooked well, although REALLY bland. And since it was advertised as “roasted veggies,” pretty lame that there was only like one tiny roasted veggie included. And the waitress charged us for everything, too!

Oh, well. What was lacking in food/service was made up for by the awesome company :) (And the delicious glass of Chardonnay that I had!)


I had a blast catching up with the girls!




Love them. They are the type of friends where you can not talk for a few months, then get together and pick up right where you left off with hilarious stories and the-whole-restaurant-is-staring-at-us laughter. It’s so nice having friends that have known you for ages :) We all went to high school together down the road in Falls Church, VA!

Speaking of high school, before dinner I stopped over at my high school friend Ben’s place for a fun photo shoot in his home studio! He’s an amazing photographer and told me to swing by next time I was around so he could get some photos. Clearly I took him up on it! How fun is this photo??

Fannetastic Umbrella

Heh. More to come!

If you’re in the DC area and need a photographer, Ben is great, very reasonably priced, and does weddings, engagement photos, studio portrait-style shots, family photos, anything! Click here to check out his portfolio and for his contact info. He also has a cool blog where he’s been doing a “Project 365” (post a photo every day for a year) photo challenge — he’s on Day 124 now and it has become one of my favorite blogs to check daily as he’s posted some really cool stuff (this one is probably my favorite… or this one!).

Anyway! I’m off to relax. Have a good one :)

Have any of you local DC peeps been to Founding Farmers? What did you think? Maybe I just ordered wrong, because a couple of the other girls liked what they got. I just seriously couldn’t believe the totally rock hard barley, though!


  1. 1

    Tom Sietsema (Washington Post Food critic) hates the place

    So I haven’t been. His reviews are usually pretty insightful.

  2. 5

    Anne, I wanted to try this place so bad when we were in DC last month for the Cherry Blossom Race but they were all booked. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was at the time but now I’m actually happy they were!! I hate when a supposedly amazing restaurant is just not what you expect. At least the company was great! :)

  3. 6

    That place sounds awful. Personally I’d be pissed if I got something with the wrong side dish, especially if it were something I was allergic to like barley. I couldn’t eat anything on the plate in that case.

  4. 7

    I always feel so disappointed when a restaurant turns out to be a bust. It shouldn’t be a risk, going out to eat, it should be a guaranteed awesome meal! At least you can almost always count on the wine… ;)

  5. 8

    Wow, that restaurant sounds like it had such potential and was just totally gross. Bummer! It sucks that they didn’t even comp anything, as would be appropriate. Maybe you should share your review on Yelp?

  6. 9

    i love that picture!!! you are gorgeous!

  7. 11

    OMG that is so sad Anne! Founding Farmers is one of my favorite restaurants! However, I always/only go for the small plates/apps! My friend and I would go every couple months for a girls night and sit at the bar. We always ordered one of the flatbreads, bacon-wrapped dates, and their original deviled eggs (which were on the food network “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”). Also, their cosmos are delicious. I’ve been 4-5 times and have never been disappointed. You will have to go again and do the apps, they are absolutely delicious!

    • 12

      Aw no way really?? Bacon-wrapped dates do sound amazing… if I go back it will definitely just be for drinks/apps!

      • 13

        Yes, FF should have limited their concepts to drinks and apps. The drink menu is fun and awesome, the bacon-wrapped dates are tasty, and the flavored popcorn they serve at the bar is delightful! I’ve also had great conversations with the bartenders. Sitting down to dinner is another story — slow, bad service and the homestyle all-American favorites are nothing to write home about.

  8. 14

    What a disappointment. I hate it when restaurant meals are bad. I’ll have to ask my mom (who lives in the DC area) if she’s been and what she thought.

  9. 15

    Founding Farmers is notorious for having its issues, but I had a great meal there when I went a couple weeks ago. The service was slow, but I had the cedar plank salmon and it was delicious. That being said, my mom’s fish was pretty dry but our waitress didn’t hesitate in saying she’d be taking it off our bill. Sounds like you got a terrible waitress – definitely give it another shot!

  10. 16

    Nothing comes close to high school bffs!

  11. 17

    I had two middling experiences at founding farmers (bad service, some excellent food, some only ok food, and lots of mistakes both times) before the WaPo review, and then gave up on going after that. His review came out about the time I started suspecting I had issues with gluten and dairy, and I just do not trust the restaurant to not mess up my order. It is not worth it. So sorry you had such a bad experience. My favorite farm-to-table places in DC are Firefly and Nora’s.

  12. 18

    Absolutely beautiful picture, Anne!

  13. 20

    I’ve been to Founding Farmers a few times and the service has never been great, but it’s been downright awful before. I emailed the managers after a particularly bad experience and they had me come back on the house but it still wasn’t great. The food can be good at times, but sometimes good food doesn’t outweigh consistent bad service for me.

  14. 21

    Bummer! I’ve been to Founding Farmers a few times and have had generally very good experiences. I ordered rockfish Meuniere once (when I was still eating fish) and looooooooved it. And I’ve ordered pasta a few times and been pretty happy with that too. The cocktails are delish as well. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. =(

  15. 22

    Sorry your meal was lousy. I am glad it was not me, because , unfortunately for my husband, he hates it when I do it, I let them know that I am not happy. When you are paying good money for your food, it is not unreasonable to let them know that things were not up to par. I hope you did tell them. Your photo’s are beautiful and you are model material. Hair looks good too.

  16. 23

    I haven’t been and I have no plans to now! You and all of your friends are gorgeous though! Definitely looks like the BFF time was worth it.

  17. 24

    I’ve been to Founding Farmer’s a lot and it’s crazy that you had just a bad experience! Maybe because it was a weekend, and it’s usually packed? I’ve always gone during the week. My friends and I LOVE it, but we usually stick to the same couple dishes – the chili, something similar to chicken pot pie, and this other dish sort of like sheppard’s pie. They get those oldies-but-goodies right every time.

  18. 25

    I thought that my experience last week might have gave me hope for Founding Farmers. For the past few years I’ve heard the food was bland and not amazing, so I avoided going. Last weekend one of my friends insisted on going for her birthday and we thought it was pretty good. The dessert was insane…said it served two, but easily could have served YOUR whole table! Farmers and Fishers is owned by the same people and slightly better. I like their location better (Washington Harbor) so, if you want to give it another shot, I’d recommend going there.

  19. 27

    I live just a few block from Founding Farmers and have been there a number of times because my friends insist on it. The biggest misconception is that they serve local food, not true. They are about family farms, which is great, but that means that they can source food from all over the country and other countries. Until recently they had a “spring 17 veggie salad” on the menu all year, that certainly wouldn’t be local or seasonal since they were serving it with asparagus in the winter! A few things on the menu are good, most though, in my opinion, are not. Even with a reservation it takes 20-30 minutes to be seated and the service is not good. They end up comping so much food because orders never seem to come out of the kitchen right. Unfortunately, what happened to you is the norm there. I always order the same thing when I go there, the farmers salad entree size with grilled salmon.

    • 28

      That’s super lame about them not even really serving local food!

      • 29
        Florence Mohammed says

        I visited my daughter who lives nearby and had brunch there and was happy we went for lunch , fell i love with the chili I had called for the recipe, and was told I have to purchase the book the recipe was in their Book , low and behold I spent $32 and the recipe is not in the Book also the cornbread I had to repeat it twice to get the similar taste. I believe their recipes are modified from the Restaurant
        .Very disappointed

  20. 30

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. we had a wonderful Mother’s Day brunch there this morning. I had the veggie scramble with hashbrowns, their homemade English muffins and their amazing home made jam. The French toast was awesome too! Maybe give them a try for brunch??

  21. 31

    Ahhh look at you, gorgoeus girl!!! That is such a great picture of you!! I have heard great things about founding fathers, I am so glad you are having a great time in DC!

  22. 32

    How fun is that photo shoot experience?? Such a cute picture. :D

  23. 33

    Every time I’ve been to a restaurant where the waiter/waitress doesn’t write down the order something has been messed up! I don’t understand why they don’t just WRITE IT DOWN!

  24. 35

    Yay for Falls Church! I was born there and then after a couple of small moves ended up going to high school at Lake Braddock. Where did you go?

  25. 37

    I went to Founding Farmers, waited FOREVER for our food (they forgot to put our order in) and they ended up comp’ing our entire meal. So I can’t complain. THe food was good!

  26. 38

    Thanks for that review. I saw Founding Farmers on a Food Network show and thought it looked really good. I think it was a show that featured their meat, so maybe they aren’t as good at cooking fish? And that barley issue is unacceptable!! I probably won’t try this place now.

  27. 39

    bummer your dinner wasn’t great. we’re going to be in DC in september so I’m on the hunt for good restaurants…we definitely won’t waste our time on this one!

  28. 41

    I am SO GLAD to see a bad Founding Farmer’s review! I went there shortly after it opened and my two experiences left such a bad taste in my mouth (literally and figuratively) that I have no desire to go back. Ever. But people are always raving about it, and it makes me so angry! :)

  29. 42
    adriane says

    i have been their twice–i want it to be my favorite restaurant, but it is terrible.

    absolutely terrible.

    and what’s worse is that it has been since like 2 weeks into opening.

    sorry you had to experience it yourself, but knowing your company, i am sure you had a great time!

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