Being a restaurateur in the age of COVID-19 is stressful enough. Being a restaurateur forced to shut down food service operations while being 40 weeks pregnant in the age of COVID-19 has got to reach air traffic controller-levels of stressful. And while coronavirus has allowed some of those good folks to take a breath, that wasn't the case for Farm & Haus' Brittany Walsh Lyne. The only breaths she took were of the patterned sort and on March 29, the day she and husband Patrick Lyne announced Farm & Haus' temporary closure, she gave birth to baby boy Callahan. "I think, mentally, I gave myself permission to have him since the stress of staying open was removed," she says. The stress of staying open. The stress of closing down. Stress wears many masks, dear reader ... pregnant pause ... and so should you.
Brittany admits it's been a "huge relief" to be open again after being closed for the entire month of April. And, I'll admit, it was nice walking into East End Market to pick up my order, even if "Phase 1" had the place looking somewhat disorganized. No, we wouldn't be enjoying Farm & Haus' brand of "healthy comfort food" inside the market, but the courtyard outside was open, with plenty of appropriately distanced seating available. It also happens to be a great place to enjoy breakfast items – eggy numbers don't really travel well, not unless you live less than five minutes away. So have a seat outside and get your avocado toast ($8) with an egg on it, or an OG breakfast sandwich ($8) with a thick (and I mean thick!) maple-sage sausage patty, gouda cheese and sunny-side-up farm egg in an English muffin.
For whatever reason, a majority of my visits to Farm & Haus have been for breakfast, often with friends visiting from out of town. In my experience, F&H never fails to make a great first impression. Tourists seem to get a kick out of those "Wakey Wakey" ($10) and Southwest hash bowls ($12), but that's not to say their lunch items deserve second billing – they don't. Anyone who's tried their ultrafresh Mediterranean salad bowl ($10) knows it's more than just a pretty face of vegetables dolled up with hummus, crispy chickpeas and tahini.
The Lynes are big on local sourcing – Everoak, Frog Song, Lake Meadow, Olde Hearth and Herta Berk Schwein being just some of the purveyors they turn to in salads and more. They're big on bold flavors, too. A chicken coconut curry ($13) with veg didn't skimp on the turmeric, and the jasmine rice was as fragrant as the shrub in my neighbor's front yard.
The cafe is only open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but they offer a hot dinner pickup from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays with portions intended for parties ranging from one to eight people – everything from orange chicken to vegan shepherd's pie to Southwest braised chicken with grits and grilled okra-tomato salad. They're also delivering their farm-fresh fare via East End Market's Mobile Delivery Truck, so suck it, GrubHub. Yes indeed, 2020 has been a pretty good year for the Lynes, and the appreciation shows.
"There's no greater feeling than seeing all our regular customers come back and order their favorites," says Brittany. "That's what we love so much about Orlando, how everyone comes together to support their own." And they're grateful for every bit of it, from birth to rebirth.
This story appears in the May 20, 2020, print edition of Orlando Weekly. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider supporting this free publication with a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.