Farmhouse, a homey restaurant with classic Midwestern dishes, definitely adds to Evanston’s eclectic food scene. While it falls under the category of restaurants to take your parents to, it’s also a great place to share a few dishes with some friends for brunch, lunch or dinner. If you arrive too late for lunch and too early for dinner, even better. You’ll be able to enjoy a full three-course meal during the restaurant’s quietest hours.
You don’t even have to travel too far into Evanston to partake in the Farmhouse experience. The restaurant is located on Church Street, right by other Northwestern staples like Andy’s Frozen Custard and Flat Top Grill. It couldn’t be more convenient for you or any of your visitors staying at the Hilton Orrington hotel, which is right next door.
Farmhouse seats over 200 people, and it’s packed on any given weeknight. Making a reservation online is a good way to avoid a thirty minute wait. If you do have end up having to wait, the hostess will seat you at the bar and you can pour over their impressive list of over 36 local Midwestern beers on tap.
At Farmhouse everything is local, so it’s a little pricey for a college student’s budget. However, the high-quality Midwestern dining experience makes the splurge worth it.
When I visited, we decided to start off the night with a few warm appetizers given the cold weather. You can’t go wrong with the roasted chicken soup — the kale and wild mushrooms add a unique, earthy flavor to the chicken broth. Our next dish, a fresh-baked pretzel, falls under the category of “bar snacks.” It’s just like a delicious pretzel from a sports game, except there’s no chance of it being stale or cold. This pretzel is fluffy and fresh, and the creamy cheese-like dipping sauce is a good balance for the salted crust. It’s also served with a hot mustard if you like your food with a kick.
Next came the classic Farmhouse burger, which was redesigned as one of the specials that night. The burger (which is made from scratch using local ingredients, of course) was topped with house-made pickles, cheddar cheese, fried shoestring onions and barbecue pulled pork. The crunchy texture of the fried onions combined with the sweet yet tangy flavor of the pulled pork made for an original and tasty burger.
The sides didn’t disappoint either. Northwestern students: put down the Easy Mac. You cannot possibly eat here without trying the baked mac and cheese, topped with bread crumbs. The crispiness of the outside combined with the warm gooeyness of the inside makes for the perfect cheesy blend of textures and flavors. Although it is a little rich, that ultimately makes it better for sharing. You could get an individual portion, but why would you if you could get a portion large enough for four or five people (or a week’s worth of mac and cheese for one) for only $4 more?
An even more popular side dish here in the Midwest is cheese curds. As a New Yorker, I hadn’t even heard of them until I was told that I couldn’t leave Farmhouse without trying them. Now I question whether I can ever go back to greasy mozzarella sticks. The fluffy dough surrounding the cheesy center makes for a filling savory snack.
For dessert, we decided to share the chocolate peanut butter tart, and upon the recommendation of our waitress, pumpkin spice doughnuts. The tart satisfies a sweet and salty dessert fix with just the right amount of caramel ice cream, spiced peanuts and bourbon caramel. The doughnuts were crunchy and sugary on the outside but warm and soft on the inside, and the pumpkin flavor was just strong enough to make it a perfect fall dessert.
After this deliciously filling meal and a friendly note from our waitress, my friends and I left more than satisfied. If you haven’t been to Farmhouse yet, make a reservation ASAP. It’s worth it.
Location: 703 Church St., Evanston, IL 60201
Hours of operation: Mon-Wed: 11am-1am, Thurs: 11am-2am, Fri: 10am-2am, Sat: 10am-12am, Sun: 10am-1pm