Healthy, responsibly sourced, old-word cuisine is what defines The Draft Horse. Relying heavily on their neighbors, The Draft Horse sources the vast majority of their ingredients from partners inside the Food Building – placing them in a category all by themselves. A perfect symbiosis exists between two local staples housed in an old horse veterinary clinic that still carries the memories of its past. Red Table Meat Co. and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread make up the team of in-house producers that provide fresh ingredients, along with Beez Kneez, a local honey distributor that raises bees on the roof. This really is a foodie’s paradise, hosting the complete ecosystem of appetizers, desserts, and everything in between!
Where did the concept come from and how was it executed?
The Draft Horse was inspired by gatherings of friends and family for roasts every Sunday over the course of a few years. We wanted to expand on this experience and find a small space in Northeast with a neighborhood pub feel and serve family style dishes with quality ingredients, beers, and spirits from our neighbors – all at affordable prices. We approached Kieran Folliard, Food Building manager, with this idea when we found out about Food Building. The building and business practices were all encompassing for us, it was exactly what we were looking for.
How do three different food brands produced in-house interact with each other? Give our readers a glimpse into the logistics of three food production systems and a restaurant housed in the same building—that must come with its set of challenges.
It presents a unique opportunity to have the public see behind the curtain and understand what goes into the production of crafted food products and then bring it all to life by tasting and buying the products at the restaurant.
The Draft Horse is lucky to have experts in all these fields on site, which results in better education and that trickles down to the guests’ experience.
Food Building is home to Red Table Meat Co. and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread. We not only value the food, but the methods and intention ushered in by each maker. Together, we are greater than the sum of our parts. The work we do challenges and is informed by current standards; and we seek what is possible, from the farmer to the maker to the eater. Each of our foods stands out in flavor as well as in sourcing. From production to distribution, we are building unparalleled levels of transparency in all steps of the process. Collectively, we are building a better food present, and future.
What part does The Draft Horse restaurant play in this whole culinary ecosystem?
We are incredibly lucky to be a few feet from the production facilities. We receive warm curds every Tuesday, freshly baked bread daily and have the best salumi maker in the country for a neighbor. These ingredients make up 75 percent of our menu. You can purchase fresh bread, flour, meat and cheese in our deli. Transparency is very important to us; look out the window and you will see Red Table Meat Co. receiving heritage hogs on Mondays and Fridays, while bread is baking in the wee hours of the morning. You can tour the Food Building and see the products being made, and end with a meal in our restaurant. We’re part of the Food Building story.
How does the public react to artisanal, urban, locally produced products?
People love it! These guys next door are the best of the best. Not only do the products have integrity, they are literally some of most delicious foods of their kind.
How much of an influence does the Northeast neighborhood have on the Food Building?
There is a heritage of old world food production in Northeast that gives a sense of heritage and authenticity both of which are important to our brands.
What is a must try for our readers to order at The Draft Horse?
Warm Cheese Curds, Pot Pies, the Charcuterie plate (voted Best of City Pages 2016), the Brick Chicken, Salt & Pepper Ribs, and the Ricotta Cheesecake with Rosemary Honey – did we mention the Beez Kneez also have bees on the roof!
Are there experiential opportunities for people interested in learning about the food production process or exploring the building?
The public is welcome to come in Tuesday-Friday from 11am-5pm for free self-guided tours. Guided tours are available and can be booked online at https://www.foodbuilding.com/booking.
Is there anything new we can expect from the Food Building this year?
Food Building has recently opened up the space for private events. We’re now taking reservations for 2017-2018. More info is available at https://www.foodbuilding.com/privateevents/
The building is a venue for Art A Whirl, and Pizza Farm will be back over the summer, along with music and movie picnic nights, and hopefully outdoor markets with local makers!