Farmer-Owned Restaurant Coming to the KOP Town Center

Founding Farmers comes with a solid record of success--and an interesting back-story.

Founding Farmers Restaurant Groupowned by and partnering directly with the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU), is bringing their next family farm-driven restaurant to the King of Prussia Town Center.

Founding Farmers will be a 14,000 square foot restaurant with two levels—the in-house bakery on the first floor, and the dining room and bar on the second. But this isn’t just any restaurant. There’s a good story behind Founding Farmers, and it starts with the NDFU.

40,000 members strong, the North Dakota Farmers Union is an organization that works for the advancement of family farms, ranch agriculture, and the quality of life for those in the family farm industry. Looking for ways to spread their message and values of American family farmers, the union decided to create a restaurant to represent what they work for. In 2008, the NDFU teamed up with longtime restauranteurs Dan Simons and Mike Vucurevich of VSAG to create their first restaurant, Founding Farmers, in Washington DC.

After proving successful, the co-op went on to open three more locations—Founding Farmers in Montgomery County, Maryland, Farmers Fishers Bakers in DC, and Founding Farmers Tysons in Tysons Corner, Virginia. All of the Founding Farmers restaurants have a LEED certification (with the exception of the Tysons Corner location, which is still awaiting a LEED review).

Now, Founding Farmers is moving out of the DelMarVa region and heading for Pennsylvania.

The KOP Town Center is a good fit for the next Founding Farmers. Of course, there’s the huge growth in KOP, but another big part is the company they’ll be sharing. Simons says that they specifically chose the Town Center because they’ll be neighboring sites including REI, the co-op that Simons says does a “great job connecting to locals,” —something he’d like to accomplish with Founding Farmers.

To Simons, King of Prussia is a “chain restaurant hell,” and he believes that people who live or travel to KOP “deserve delicious, real food that hasn’t been homogenized,” which is what Founding Farmers will deliver.

While the restaurant group and NDFU want to keep their supplies local, Simons says that quality matters just as much, if not more than locality.”We’d rather buy from a family farm in California than a factory farm in Pennsylvania.”

All of the baked goods will be made in house with North Dakota flour, and as of right now, they plan on using beef from the same Virginia ranchers they’ve been working with to supply their DC restaurant. Their dairy will come from Pennsylvania, as well as much of the produce.

The menu will be “50 or 60% different” than the others, as the co-op wants to make each restaurant have a different story related to where it’s located. Simons says that their menus “take inspiration from geography,” and they’d like to have the KOP Founding Farmers menu reflect Pennsylvania’s German and Amish roots.

Some of the spirits behind the bar will be their own line of rye whiskey and gin, in partnership with Copper Fox Distillery, that are distilled with grains grown from a farmer in Virginia. Right now, Founding Farmers has their own distillery in the works, and Simons hopes that down the road, all of the spirits they serve will be their own.

Simons says he is “totally immersed” in the progress of the KOP Founding Farmers and that they are “fortunate to have a partner in the JBG Companies,” the private real estate investment and management firm in charge of the development of the KOP Town Center. The restaurant is set to open in late of 2017, and will be serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends.

Founding Farmers [Official]