Foodies stand up and take note. While I was searching for the actual number of restaurants in the Dallas area many folks I ask wouldn’t commit to a number because it changes so much. One place did say, however, that as of several years ago there were over 325,000 dining or drink establishments within a 100-mile radius of Dallas.
How many of those are healthy, more than one might think. Even better, there are a number of chefs and restaurants in the city that are taking healthy even further from Farm to Table and beyond.
Graham Dodds, chef/owner of Wayward Sons in Dallas says “It's so much more than farm to table. It's building and cultivating relationships with the people in our community who produce food with such love and care. It's essential these days to know exactly where our food comes from, how it's grown and how it's cared for.”
Another restaurant veteran in Dallas who believes in a healthy meal is Executive Chef/Owner of Abacus, Jasper's, Hickory, Kent Rathbun. While not all his menu items might be healthy he does pay attention to the finer details.
"I've been in Dallas for 25 years and have always used local producers, but only until recently have we had such a big choice of products,” Rathbun explains. “I'm extremely happy to see that we are moving in the right direction and feel that it's very important to use local farmers and you almost always end up with a better product."
Rathbun buys from local farmers including items like micro greens, lettuces, local meats, local cheese, local grits and local meats.
Other standout restaurants with green menus include Start on Greenville and another on Lemmon Avenue. Start is considered “real fast food” and owner Eric Mckool is also the chef. She takes pride in her menu items on a daily basis.
A newer establishment that just opened in January at Dallas Farmer’s Market is Mudhen. Executive Chef Suki Otsuki uses fresh, seasonal produce and clean meats in tasty and creative combinations on a menu that includes starters, salads, sandwiches, B.Y.O.B - Build Your Own Bowl and entree selections. The desserts are prepared in-house by Pastry Chef Laurel Wimberg and nutritionist and Sundrops founder Mark Herrin acts as “in house” counsel, consulting with Otsuki on nutritional benefits as well as differentiating between myth, mania and moderation.
Local Food Kitchen in Fort Worth boasts chef Katie Schma and she constantly aims to serve a Farm to Table seasonal menu and she sources local ingredients from the Texas area often.
“We aim to cook with responsibly grown, humanely raised local and regional products whenever possible,” Schma says.
While Local Foods Kitchen works with local Texas farmers whenever possible and feature the highest quality farm-raised ingredients, Schma says that sometimes temperature highs and lows in Texas do affect some ingredients so they have to be ordered from out of state. Nevertheless, she always aims for the menu to be healthy and eco-friendly.
“We need to reward the folks who do it the right way," Graham concludes. "Everyone should be able to make the right choices and be able to feed their families truly healthy food.”