By Ashley Hinkley, Staff Writer
In celebration of its 33rd anniversary, the Homestead, a local downtown Farmington restaurant is bringing new things to the table including new menu items, new recipes and the revamping of its once flourishing bakery. Owner and long-time employee Laurie Danforth is excited about the changes to come as the Homestead begins to modernize as well as go “back to their roots.”
In an attempt to make the restaurant more trendy, the Homestead is stepping outside of their comfort zone and starting to do things that they have not done before. “Tapas menus have become more popular lately,” said Danforth, “so we’ve decided to adopt our own and bring something new to Farmington.” A tapas menu is typically found in a bar setting and is a Spanish tradition which consists of small plates of food rather than a full course meal.
Along with the addition of the tapas menu, the restaurant is changing the recipes of some of their drinks as well as adding new ones. “We typically serve a wide variety of drinks but we wanted to do something more,” Danforth said. To accompany the current trend of fruit-infused water, the restaurant is starting to serve fruit-infused liquor as well as adding concentrated syrups to some of their drinks.
Originally, the well-known restaurant had started as a small bakery that was run in Danforth’s family’s kitchen with a commercial license. The whole business had started with Danforth’s mother, Dotty Danforth, who quit her job as a teacher to open up a bakery. “She was just baking small desserts for the local people at first,” Danforth said of her mother, “then I told her to start making meals and now here we are.”
When the restaurant aspect of the Homestead began to flourish, the focus on the bakery diminished. “We really wanted to go back to our roots,” said Danforth. “However, we’ve decided to have the bakery be French-based.” Before the bakery’s sole focus was on basic cakes, cookies, cupcakes etc., now, the bakery will be selling croissants and other small pastries.
Long time employee Gia Pilgrim Charles has seen the bakery transition over the past three years, and is looking forward to expanding and incorporating the new changes.
“Seeing the bakery reinvent itself has been really exciting,” said Pilgrim in an email. “We used to have a concrete selection of predictable bakery items, but now they’ve updated the menu and ingredients and everything is made from scratch.”
The Homestead officially opened in 1983 and to commemorate the past thirty-three years, the restaurant will be hosting a week-long celebration in its honor. “We will be having lots of discounts and giving away free samples of the bakery’s newest items,” said Danforth. She hopes to have free samples and discount cards to be given out in the Student Center to appeal to their customers on the college campus.
With the Homestead being in walking distance from UMF’s campus, Danforth has had a lot of college students come to work at the restaurant as waitresses and kitchen staff.
“We have always had such a bright and motivated group of students,” said Danforth. “The Homestead and college students are a good mix and come together well.” Along with the college students, the Homestead frequently serves a lot of professors that work at the university. “We love all of our customers that come from UMF,” said Danforth. “Serving and working with them is always a pleasure.”
In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the Homestead will be serving different kinds of Irish foods, such as traditional corn beef and cabbage. To contact the Homestead about catering or to look at their menu visit, www.homesteadbakery.com or find them on Facebook.