Restaurant Takes Farm-to-Table Cuisine to Fresh New Heights
Farow Restaurant uses fresh ingredients from a 10 mile radius to craft tasty culinary dishes
Lisa and Patrick Balcom signed the lease for Farow, their Niwot restaurant, in July 2021, during a brief local hiatus from the COVID- 19 pandemic. “We all kind of felt like things were over, but then…it came back,” Lisa recalls. Despite the trials of that period, during which so many established restaurants failed, Farow is thriving.
The extremely innovative and tantalizing menu has enticed diners from all over the Front Range and beyond to venture to the delightful small community of Niwot to feast on such items as JHawk Harms chicken with black harissa, breakfast radish and green tahini and Buckner Ranch filet mignon with onion tarte tatin.
Chef Patrick began his culinary career at 16, working during the summer at a country club in Indiana. After high school, he enrolled at Johnson & Wales, the renowned academy for restaurateurs. He comes up with delightfully creative ideas from various sources, including his 20+ years of experience at Blackbelly, Safta and Charleston Grill. “I pore through cookbooks to come up with more interesting farm-to-table items,” he says.
Patrick enjoys asking his staff members for their ideas. “I try to collaborate with everyone on my staff. We all think differently, and a staff member might spur a cool new concept.”
The Balcoms believe in treating their employees well, and value their expertise. Everything is made in-house by Farow’s culinary team, including the popular daily rotating focaccia bread and the tantalizing desserts crafted by pastry chef Lisa. Their providers are also carefully chosen, due to the couple’s commitment to building a more sustainable food system, which includes paying farmers a fair wage buying from purveyors who prioritize animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.
Farow’s name comes from a brainstorming session of partial human and partial AI-generated ideas. It is a “collaboration of the grain “farro” and “farrow,” the correct term for a litter of pigs,” Lisa explains with a chuckle. “Since we are so focused on farm-to-table cuisine, she notes, this made sense to us.”
Indeed, the Balcoms are strict about obtaining some 90 percent of the food items they use from within a 10 mile radius of their restaurant. That policy forces chef Patrick to be very creative, especially during the winter, Lisa says. “Our food and cocktail menus are like a constantly rotating snapshot of that specific week’s produce from the amazing farms here in Boulder County.”
The pair believes strongly in reducing their carbon footprint in as many ways as they can. Food scraps go to local pig farmers, for example, and they maintain a small garden onsite. The craft beers they serve are all Colorado brews, and while wines are not all from Colorado, they are mostly organic and biodynamic.
Farow will be hosting five Sunday Suppers on the Farm this summer for the first time, from June through October, including a third Farow anniversary farm dinner in September. After an early evening tour of the farm, diners will enjoy a welcome cocktail, followed by a prix fixe four-course meal. The first dinner will be June 18.
Irene Middleman Thomas is an avid foodie and loves exploring innovative and creative new restaurants wherever she goes. She writes about travel, food and lifestyles, often for Colorado Expression.