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F.A.R.M. Cafe Featured in Wall Street Journal Article, AMB and Hob Nob Cafe Mentioned As Well

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 20, 2014. F.A.R.M. Café, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Hob Nob Cafe were featured in a Wall Street Journal piece titled “A (Yes) Culinary Road Trip Through Appalachia.” It was published on Oct. 17.

The author, Melanie D.G. Kaplan, and her friend, Travis Fugate, travelled through the heart of Appalachia, stopping at Lewisburg, W.V., Pikeville, Ky., Meadowview and Abingdon, Va., and Boone. Kaplan and Fugate ate at about a dozen establishments along the way.

Boone was described as a “hippy-outdoorsy town” and the authors noted that they “imbibed” at Appalachian Mountain Brewery during their stay in the High Country in August.

At Hob Nob Café, the two had a “real-cheese, local–vegetable lasagna” and a “bacon-wrapped meatloaf.” Kaplan noted that she was surprised by the numerous options for vegans. While Hob Knob Café and Appalachian Mountain Brewery were mentioned more or less in passing, the article featured several paragraphs on F.A.R.M. Café.

“Over the course of the trip, we’d seen coal towns struggling to reinvent themselves and restaurants straining to be sustainable and profitable. We’d talked about the challenge of providing healthy, tasty food to less-than-affluent locals. It seemed fitting that our last stop was Boone’s F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Café, a pay-what-you-can kitchen where you can buy a meal, trade volunteer hours for food or pay extra so someone else can eat later,” Kaplan wrote.

Kaplan noted that they sat next to a regular, a maintenance worker from Appalachian State University.

“The locally sourced meal—tomato soup, grilled cheese, green salad, potato salad, sautéed squash and beans, and apple cobbler—was served on a green cafeteria tray and cost just $10,” Kaplan wrote.

Wilkie performing in front of the old Boone Drug, where the F.A.R.M. Cafe is currently located. Photo by Jesse Wood
Wilkie performing in front of the old Boone Drug, where the F.A.R.M. Cafe is currently located, in 2011. Photo by Jesse Wood

They even quoted – not by name, though – Edward Wilkie, the street musician who plays every day on King Street in front of the F.A.R.M. Café:

“Tomorrow would be a good day to eat here,” a bearded regular offered. “Tomato Pie Tuesday, with heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese.”

We later saw him sitting out front, playing the mandolin for change.

Rev. Tommy Brown, a board member of the F.A.R.M. Cafe, said that he thought the segment on the local café was “very well done” and that it was nice to have some national attention on Boone.

A nonprofit, F.A.R.M. Café’s mission is to “build a healthy and inclusive community by providing high quality and delicious meals produced from local sources, served in a restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means.”

F.A.R.M. Café is located at 617 W. King Street. For more information, click to http://farmcafe.org/ or call 828-386-1000.

Also check its website or Facebook page for the daily menu.