Yesterday morning, I crawled out of bed the victim of one of the WORST night’s sleep I have had in a while. Since I am a notoriously bad sleeper, THAT is saying a lot. I may have logged 2 hours of sleep all together during that entirely horrific night of tossing and turning which was mixed with profoundly messed up dreams. Honestly, I slept better during the full “blood” moon earlier this week. But, I refused to beaten down! So, I took a long walk in the morning sunshine, in an effort to burn off the vampiric haze which had taken hold of me. Unfortunately, that plan did not work. Plan B – I decided that I needed sustenance in a warm, cozy and caring setting. So, I put my sad, sorry, sleep-deprived, solo self aboard the CTA Brown Line and I headed straight to FARMHOUSE for a proper lunch and some TLC!
FARMHOUSE is located in Chicago’s bustling River North neighborhood, directly downstairs from the CTA Brown and Purple Lines at the CHICAGO ‘L’ stop. I had eaten dinner here a few times, so I knew the staff at FARMHOUSE would take good care of me. I was not disappointed!
FARMHOUSE is a craft, farm-to-tavern restaurant with a seasonal focus. Burgers, sodas and condiments are all made from scratch. There are at least 28 local craft beers on tap and they are always changing. Executive Chef Eric Mansavage (best name ever!) and Sous Chef Trevor Fleming offer food from the local Green City Market, as well as from an array of Midwestern farmers and purveyors. Also, the owners of FARMHOUSE have a farm in Wisconsin, Brown Dog Farm, which provides produce and honey to this restaurant.
As I mentioned, I was in need of a tranquil and transportive environment that would soothe my weary soul. FARMHOUSE provides just such a loving atmosphere which is what makes it so unique among many of its loud, frenetic River North neighbors. It’s as cute as a button, too! This is a split-level restaurant in a small house. The first floor has a cozy bar, a communal table in the front window which looks out toward the CHICAGO ‘L’ stop, a few high-top tables and a couple of booths opposite the bar. A steep staircase leads up to the second floor where there is another bar and a larger dining space. I love eating dinner upstairs, as the space glows from tiny votive candles in the evening. Candles also line the staircase at night.
FUN FACT: 85% of FARMHOUSE is made from salvaged materials from other famous Chicago bars and restaurants. What a very cool way to pay homage to Chi-town history! Also, the walls throughout FARMHOUSE are adorned with the paintings from local artists. (love it!)
Here is how my lunch went down:
I decided to sit at the bar, so I would have the opportunity to engage with other people and, hopefully, flip my terrible mood. Right decision! Paige, my warm and friendly server/bartender, confirmed my suspicion that I should try the Homemade Chicken Soup with kale and wild mushrooms. I also ordered the Chicken Salad Sandwich with apple fennel slaw and an Ellis Farm honey vinaigrette which was served on an English muffin along side a bowl of fresh green salad.
I do not want to live in a world without delicious, homemade soup whether I make it or not. The chicken soup I had at FARMHOUSE was just the medicine I needed. The chicken in this soup was delicious and I could identify every fresh, crisp, verdant flavor of the carrot, celery and wild mushrooms (loved, loved, loved those mushrooms!). I was so tired that I could imagine myself taking a bath in this bowl of soup. Visualization is a large part of feeling better and I picked the perfect bowl of soup for this mental exercise 🙂
The chicken salad sandwich was really light and refreshing. The apple fennel slaw and the honey vinaigrette were the perfect complements to the juicy chicken and the whole grain muffin. The side salad was no mere afterthought, folks! The lettuce leaves, chives and fennel that were in this small bowl were tossed ever so lightly with a bright vinaigrette dressing. No leaf was left behind. HA!
I washed it all down with the vibrant, seasonal soda which FARMHOUSE is currently offering. It was an artisanal, raw, sparkling juice made from strawberries. No sugar was added. This was really delicious and a nice daytime alternative to the amazing craft beers on tap. I started feeling better after I took my first few sips. I also sampled the pear/fennel and blueberry/cilantro sodas which are made with just a bit of simple syrup. Both were very tasty and refreshing.
Wow! I definitely made the right call choosing FARMHOUSE for lunch. I was properly fed with tasty, nutritious food and drink. I was cradled in their comforting surroundings. Their fabulous staff took very good care of me. Refreshed from “the farm,” I re-entered the daylight with new energy and a smile on my face. Can’t wait to return!
FARMHOUSE is located at 228 W. Chicago Avenue. For more information, visit www.farmhousechicago.com.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Brown or Purple Lines to FARMHOUSE. Save gas money. Avoid traffic and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!