For the third year, we’re profiling five of the most exciting new restaurants below the Mason-Dixon line—one per day, in the order that they opened.
The Farmer & the Larder, Brunswick, Georgia
Opened August 2015
Matthew Raiford and Jovan Sage get up around dawn most days, to take care of a few regular farm chores: feeding the chickens, checking on the ducks, weeding the fields. Raiford grew up on the family farm, which his newly emancipated great-great-great-grandfather bought almost a century and a half ago. Today, the two live in an old schoolhouse on the property. And when they aren’t on the farm, they’re running a small but ambitious local restaurant.
“It’s a whole experience,” Sage says. Not only do the two grow their own greens and vegetables from heirloom seeds, but they also host wine tastings at the restaurant, and teach hands-on classes covering everything from quick pickling to basic knife skills to cooking wild game. “We get all sorts of customers,” Raiford says. “Some people want to reconnect with the way their grandmothers used to cook, and some people just want to learn how to cook.”
Area businesspeople stop by for next-level grab-and-go lunches like local pork loin sandwiches with arugula, roasted heirloom tomato, and barbecue mayonnaise, and tomato soup garnished with hunks of blue cheese that get extra flavor from the smoker out back.
Tourists buy cane syrup and pecans from the shelves up front, while young couples come in on weeknights to learn how to make dinner for each other, or to sit down and order from a changing menu stocked with local ingredients like field peas, and just-caught sea trout.
And somehow, the proprietors make time for all of it.
“We’ll stay at the restaurant until about 10:00 at night, or a little bit later,” Raiford says. “Monday is the only day we’re closed, and that’s usually a farm and paperwork day.”
Don’t miss: The Georgia Pig Fritter, a slice of pork belly over a black-eyed pea fritter.