Community Pride on the Menu

September 8, 2011

Community Pride on the Menu:
Farmers Gastropub Showcases Fresh,
Local and Sustainable in Springfield

MOE Farmers

 

By Jamie Vollmer
Showing pride in your community can
take many forms. For some it may mean
fulfilling a civic duty or cheering on the
local sports team. For Bill and Christina
Griffiths, it is about showcasing wonderful
foods produced by local farmers and
ranchers, while promoting sustainable
business practices.

In October 2009, the Griffiths opened
the doors to Farmers Gastropub in
Springfield, Mo. The restaurant, with
a distinctly English flair, features fresh,
local produce that has many in the area
clamoring to not only dine, but also host
private events there.

Jason Hill, Managing Partner at Cross
Creek Architectural, is a regular at Farmers.
In December 2010 he decided to host
a Christmas party for his business associates
there. “The Christmas party was so
well received, I’ve decided to host my 15-
year high school reunion at the Gastropub
later this summer,” said Hill.

The focus on fresh, local and organic
was what led Lori Beard, owner of Vivo
Modern Hair Design, to choose Farmers
for the baby shower she hosted in June
2011. “I chose Farmers mainly because
my friends and I enjoy its focus on fresh,
locally produced food. The food is amazing
and definitely the freshest in Springfield,”
Beard said.

The opportunity for fresh and local is
always growing at Farmers thanks to chef
and owner Bill Griffiths. Griffiths has
been building relationships with local
farmers for the last seven years through
the Springfield Farmers Market.

When it came time to open the restaurant,
he relied on guidance from the local
producers he had met at the market.

“We explained what we were looking to
do, and found out what they could produce,”
shared Griffiths.

Griffiths has continued to grow these relationships
to expand what the restaurant
can offer year-round. “We have also partnered
with a local farmer to have our own
138’ x 40’ hydroponic greenhouse where
we grow our own watercress, tomatoes,
head lettuce and such.”

The Griffiths aren’t the only ones taking
pride in their community’s produce.
Brad Bodenhausen, executive vice president
of the Springfield Area Chamber of
Commerce, has hosted a number of the
Chamber’s events at Farmers. “We have
great farmers and food producers in our
region, and it is good to know that they
are providing the ingredients that become
an excellent meal at Farmers Gastropub,”
commented Bodenhausen.

Putting the Gastro in GastroPub
While the concept of a pub has been
around for centuries and is familiar to
the masses, the term “gastropub” is only
a couple decades old. Rumored to have
been conceived at The Eagle in London,
gastropubs are a type of pub where food
is more than a nibble to accompany a
pint, but an experience in and of itself.
Farmers lives up to the gastropub moniker
in full force.

“You can taste the quality of the ingredients,”
commented Hill. “And the food
stands up to any other place in town.”

In addition to Griffiths, Farmers employs
five chefs from around the world.
They bring not only a great attention to
cuisine, but a wide range of flavor experiences.
Menus change on a regular
basis to reflect the produce seasons and
local availability.

Tona Rowett, president of Smart
Group, hosted a client/agency dinner
at Farmers last summer. “We wanted to
provide them a unique dining experience,
with out-of-the-ordinary dishes and great
bar selections,” she said.

Have It Your Way
It is not only the quality and flavor of
Farmers that keeps event and meeting
planners happy, it is how the venue presents
these options to clients.

“Our tagline is ‘A fresh approach to
full-service catering,’” shared Griffiths.
“We do outside catering with fresh, local
produce. It’s what’s in season and available
at that time. We construct menus
based on availability.”

This means that every event that is held
in the restaurant or catered off-site sits
down with a chef to develop a custom
menu. This approach extends to beverages,
décor and overall ambiance.

“Prior to the event, I was able to visit
with Bill and with James, the head chef,
to plan exactly what I wanted the event to
look like and the type of food and drinks
to be served,” commented Beard. “Most
places don’t offer that type of access to
management, and I thought it was an excellent
example of customer service.”

Bodenhausen had a similar experience.
He stated, “It’s a very simple process to
use Farmers Gastropub for your event.
You simply call Bill and talk about what
kind of experience you want to provide
for your group and the type of budget
you have. He then goes to work to develop
a menu and arrange all the details
to make it happen.”

Menu of Event Spaces
Farmers offers a number of options
for private events. The Bistro Room
with its high ceilings can handle up to
50 guests seated and 100 cocktail-style.
It is a great space for rehearsal dinners,
association meetings, showers, social
events and business meetings. Another
popular spot for events is the sunken
patio with its refreshing herb garden,
pond and its own version of “London
Fog” air-water misters. On select nights,
event and meeting planners can even
rent out the entire restaurant.

The restaurant offers complimentary
Wi-Fi and fulfills simple audio-visual
needs with a projector and screen available
for a small fee. Tables are offered bare
with simple white linen napkins. Additional
linens are available upon request.

Planners should contact Farmers two
to three months prior to their events to
reserve space. However, during the off season,
events can be planned in a week’s time.
Holiday events book up in late spring.

While Farmers does have parking readily
available, Griffiths advises planners to
be very clear with guests about the restaurant’s
location. Due to the position of
the plaza and the accompanying streets,
it can be confusing to guests if they are
only given an address.

The Griffiths have paid close attention
to the ambiance of Farmers, bringing
many familiar elements from Bill
Griffiths’ homeland of England. Decorative
rugs are scattered across the floors,
warm wood accents fill the space and the
walls possess a rustic finish.

“The ambience was very authentic and
cozy,” said Hill. “So many people commented
that it truly felt like being in a
European pub.”

“As an event planner, my favorite
thing is knowing that we can count on
having high-quality food and a good atmosphere
for our participants,” shared
Bodenhausen. “I also like hosting visitors
to Springfield at Farmers Gastropub
because it is a welcoming place
with a relaxed environment that is ideal
for conversations.”

Farmers Gastropub is highlighting the
great things southern Missouri has to
offer, and in the process is becoming a
showcase for local citizens to share their
own civic pride. MM&E

(Jamie Vollmer is a contributor from
St. Louis, Mo.)

Contact Information
Farmers Gastropub
431 S. Jefferson Ave. Suite 160
Springfield, MO, 65806
Enter from Pershing Street or from the
Elm Street parking lot.
Phone: (417)864-6994
www.farmersgastropub.com

 

At a Glance
Type of Facility:
Restaurant
Group size this facility is
able to accommodate:
10-185
Cuisine:
Fresh, local, sustainable
Number of Private Dining
Rooms Available:
2
Special Features/Amenities:
Fresh, local, organic, sustainable
products
Is the facility disabledaccessible?
Yes
Are group rates/discounts
available?
N/A
Price Range:
$10 – $100 per person

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