Plenty of restaurants offer farm-to-table dishes, but in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a tucked-away, unpretentious and informal eatery on Caroline Street has locals lining up, literally, to order.
Foode (pronounced Food-ie) is relatively new on the scene. Located downtown, co-owners Joy Crump, chef, and Beth Black, all around overseer, left Atlanta to open the petite-sized restaurant in 2011. In Atlanta, they witnessed the economy spiraling downwards and disappointing food quality in restaurants.
Armed with a culinary degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta, Crump, and best friend Black, a former producer at Fox 5 in Atlanta, headed to Fredericksburg, where local farmers are close to their backyard, and provide 85 percent to 90 percent of the food served at Foode. The menu changes on a weekly basis.
It was my first visit to Foode where I was meeting an acquaintance for dinner. It wasn't long before I realized why she wanted to meet at 5pm on a Tuesday evening in mid-January. The visibly popular and cozy spot became packed to the gills before 6pm.
The restaurant entrance is accessed by walking through a quaint brick alley with outdoor seating (and, yes, you can dine alfresco with your four-legged friend). When approaching, don't be confused, as I was, by the staircase leading to a second-story door, it happens to be the kitchen entrance.
When you step inside, if a table is available, grab it, or it won't be long before it's taken. Ordering at Foode is different. Grab a paper menu and order at the cash register. There is no tipping; there isn't even a tip jar. The reason behind this ordering concept is to save patrons a 15 percent to 20 percent tip.
We sat at a corner four-top table, to the left, where I saw several other tables for two and a communal counter. Seating is undoubtedly limited, so keep in mind, a potentially long wait for a table is not uncommon. Locals, including students from University of Mary Washington, order food to go.
I ordered The Ria's Bluebird ($13): an all natural beef brisket, slow-smoked in house over King George hickory and served over creamy organic cheddar grits with smoked broth and a chunk of warm rustic bread in an oversized bowl. It was deliciously different, and ideal on a winter's night. For a hearty main course, the popular char-grilled pork chop is a thick cut from the Old Towne Butcher served with roasted sweet potato, black rice and faro, with Blenheim field greens, fresh sage, brown butter and a house-made Dijon mustard vinaigrette ($20) or 1/2 order with boneless chop ($14). Dinner was followed with two house-made, enticing desserts: citrus brown butter polenta cake served warm in a ramekin with lightly whipped vanilla mascarpone buttercream and maple caramel ($8.5) as well as hot chocolate cake baked in a mason jar and served warm with cinnamon whipped cream and cocoa dust ($7).
A rotating selection of craft beer and white and red wines is available. Unlimited refills on tea, water, or coffee is available at the drink station.
Address: 1006 Caroline Street., Fredericksburg, VA 22401 PH: 540.479.1370
Lunch . Dinner . Saturday & Sunday Brunch . Catering
Closed on Mondays