The Farm Restaurant: Cooking Like Grandmoms
by Gabby Crabcakes
"You have to have it in your heart," explained Ike Stoltzfus, assistant manager of The Farm Restaurant, referring to the passion he and the rest of the staff share for providing good food and friendly service at Annapolis only Amish eatery.
Tucked within the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market, The Farm Restaurant is open Thursday (10am-6pm), Friday (9am-6pm) and Saturday (8:30am-3pm). Limited hours for good reason: The all-Amish staff is shuttled by van each day from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They bring with them an infusion of unadulterated country cooking and fresh, wholesome presentation.
The Farm seats about 100 people at red vinyl booths, tightly arranged tables and a full-service counter. Throughout most of the day, it seems, all 100 of these seats are taken with a line stretching through the rest of the market. Arriving at a lull around 10am, my companion and I had no wait.
The restaurants walls are brightened with hand-painted murals depicting rolling countryside and farmland scenes throughout the seasons. These lovely paintings aside, the dining room is unadorned.
Your servers name is displayed on a placard next to the salt and pepper at each table. The handwritten menu features a variety of breakfast and lunch items.
Be careful, portions are very generous!
Breakfast ranges from scrapple, eggs and toast ($4.25), creamed beef on homefries ($3.95), french toast with your choice of homemade bread (blueberry, strawberry, peach, or cinnamon-raison, $3.50), or a Western omelet with ham, cheese, peppers and onions ($4.50). Make sure you have a pot of the homemade strawberry preserves on your table and I guarantee you wont leave any toast on your plate.
We fought the temptation to order lunch: "no crust" chicken pot pie (served with one vegetable for $5.95), two jumbo wieners with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut ($5.50: believe me, you have never seen plump dogs like these before) or two chicken croquettes served on mashed potatoes with two vegetables ($6.50).
No, we opted for breakfast. My partner ambitiously combined two eggs with toast ($2.75) with an order of sausage gravy on homefries ($3.95). Heaped on golden-fried potato medallions, the gravy was smooth and creamy with loose mild sausage throughout. A bit more conservative, I ordered two eggs over easy on English muffin with melted cheese and homefries ($3.95), and a side of scrapple ($.95). Everything arrived just right, eggs cooked perfectly, a nice healthy slice of scrapple fried just so.
Service is efficient and pleasant, always with a smile. The staff takes considerable time conversing with the patrons, adding to the pleasure of the dining experience.
Without the space to highlight everything on the menu, I must make special exception for the lengthy vegetable selection including pickled eggs, pickled beets, chow-chow, macaroni and cheese and homemade applesauce to name a few. There is also a full list of sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. The homemade chicken corn soup is outstanding.
Finally, check out the long list of fresh deserts such as strawberry, coconut creme, lemon meringue and chocolate creme pies; red velvet, carrot and strawberry short-cakes.
When we eventually pushed ourselves away from the table, we took pride in the fact that the line wrapped around the corner.
The Farm Restaurant a.k.a. Lapps
Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market, Annapolis Harbor Center: 410/573-0770
Proprietor: Chris Lapp
Reasons to go: A winning philosophy backed by a committed staff and cooking like grandmoms.
Something to think about: You may consider carpooling; parking at the Harbour Center can be a bear.