Restaurant supplies demand for farm fresh local foods
POCATELLO — New Farm Table Cafe owner Jamie C. Bailey is a firsthand witness to the worldwide demand for locally produced farm-fresh foods.
“We’re bringing something different to the cuisine because we’re melding different influences, but we’re relying on local ingredients,” said Bailey, who bought the restaurant in August.
That’s attractive to a lot of diners. For example, just on Wednesday he served a Massachusetts couple who stopped there on their travels after an online search pointed them to the cafe, which is inside the Pocatello Co-Op Natural Foods Market at 308 E. Center St.
“They’re looking for a healthy alternative to the fast food chain restaurants while they’re traveling,” Bailey said. “And we come up on Google for people looking for that.”
He’s also had customers from Italy and other countries overseas. In fact, about 50 percent of his customers are just traveling through and find his restaurant through an online search, he said.
He says the Farm Table Cafe fits the keywords for the search, but then it delivers.
“We also follow through by offering quality food,” he said.
Bailey, who previously owned the Flipside Lounge in downtown Pocatello, said the Farm Table Cafe had been in existence for about a year and half. And when the chance arose to buy it, he was interested.
Bailey, 38, has worked about 20 years in the hospitality and restaurant industries, including at 5-star restaurants under world-recognized chefs. He previously worked at the Old Yellowstone Garage in Jackson, which frequently was in the top five for wines and food on the New York Times’ best-of list.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Bailey said. “There are still just lessons I learned there that I’m still applying.”
Meanwhile, he says local customers have also been responding to the restaurant’s locally produced menu items.
“That’s one of the things that draws people here to begin with,” he said. “And then they see how we’re showcasing these local ingredients I think that really ropes them in.”
At first it seemed like there was an adjustment period; then people appeared to embrace the Farm Table Cafe.
“The lunch crowd has been busier and busier,” Bailey said. “We’re starting to see the same faces again, and I think we’re building a nice regular clientele.”
One thing that people have mentioned they like is that the menu changes. So they can just get the special and have something different. “And it’s always fresh,” he said.
Further, he says there’s a sense of camaraderie for the restaurant’s customers.
“That’s also part of the reason people come here I think,” Bailey said.
In fact, he already plans to expand what the restaurant offers. He looks to add fresh-baked goods that are both gluten free and vegan. And he aims to add a salad bar and offer breakfast, and expand seating from the current 25.
“I think the customer base is here,” he said. “As we expand the programs that we offer we’ll be able to expand our hours as well.”
Plus, the restaurant offers a beer tasting the first Thursday of every month. And it has a wine tasting on the last Saturday of every month. It also features various artists for the First Friday Art Walk in Old Town.
The business works to promote the local economy while also offering healthy local foods.
“We trying to use everything top to bottom and keep that dollar in the local economy.”
The hours for the restaurant are from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.