“I try to get the people that work for me to come to a farm to understand that there really is a farmer. For them to see it, if they can translate that to the customer, the beauty of that is now, everybody can buy into the story.” – Rich Mead, Owner and Executive Chef
hen you take your seat on the patio at Farmhouse, just take a minute to soak it all in. Elegant shrubs and gorgeous raised flowerbeds decorate the spaces between tables adorned with verdant fern bouquets. A modern rustic gazebo rises at the edge, its contours accented by potted trees and vibrant hanging baskets. Here, the line between restaurant and garden is lost in the leaves; Roger’s Gardens, Newport Beach’s own greenhouse wonderland surrounds the space, creating a relaxing ambience that evokes a devotion to the soil and what grows in it.
Farmhouse opened in 2016, determined to serve delectable dishes made with the most flavorful, locally sourced produce, while also sharing the story behind each meal. For years, Executive Chef Rich Mead has developed relationships with Southern California’s farms and markets, from Ventura to San Diego, surrounding himself with a network of like-minded people who want their food to be fresh and cultivated with care. All of his dedication culminates in a creative rotation of seasonal field-to-fork menus designed for the al fresco dining experience. Immaculate Brussels sprouts, charred and coated with a pomegranate glaze, are a savory starting point. Cerise-hued, house-cured salmon, pickled onion, tomato, capers, cucumber and radish are preordained to land atop a slice of pumpernickel, making a heavenly open-faced sandwich. Balsamic grilled vegetables topped with feta and avocado is a satisfyingly filling salad that can easily be shared. Grilled apple cider molasses swordfish plated with snap pea, satsumaimo sweet potato and black garlic vinaigrette is culinary ingenuity manifested.
Innovation isn’t confined to the kitchen at Farmhouse. Creativity flows freely to and from the bar; mixologists are constantly experimenting with fruits and veggies to fashion the next hit cocktail. The tantalizing All Up Piña is a refreshing combination of guava, simple syrup, blanco tequila and blood orange juice from Schaner Farms. Leftover tomato peels? Roast them and grind them into powder for a Bloody Mary. Pickled mangoes being used in a drink? They could go great on a salad too!
Beneath the delicious recipes and charming open-air atmosphere, Farmhouse’s success stems from a simple and exciting fact – today, people are more interested in what they are eating. Education and philanthropy are a huge part of Chef Mead’s approach. With his contribution to organizations like Outstanding in the Field and the Culinary Liberation Front, he works to inform the public and fellow chefs about how they can better embody the notion of local and sustainable. Mead even has his own platform on site, the amphitheater at Roger’s Gardens, where he puts on a monthly cooking demonstration, often to sizeable crowds.
Surrounded by good company under the summer sun, dinner at Farmhouse is a celebration of the hard work and dedication of farmers and chefs alike. Their tender love and care translates to each bite of robust cauliflower and roasted beets. So indulge in a vegetable medley that will light up your taste buds and get your green thumb itching.
Farmhouse is open daily. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Dinner runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.