Friend of a Farmer – West Side Rag

Photographs courtesy of Rose Morabito.

By Lese Dunton

While walking down West 71st Street recently, past what used to be Big Nick’s and heading east towards Central Park, I noticed a few repeated words on a wall: “Friend of a farmer. East. 1986,“they repeated several times.

“What a beautiful name,” I thought. “Who is this farmer friend?” I looked online and found this was a restaurant that was coming to the Upper West Side this fall. [WSR wrote about it here.] Wanting to know more, I contacted one of the owners, Rose Morabito.

“It’s cozy comfort food,” Rose says. “The restaurant gives the impression of being in the countryside. Lots of natural wood with floral upholstery. There is a large fireplace in the center of the main dining room which you can see from wherever you are seated. There are also great skylights so it is very bright during the day.

The Morabitos.

Rose and her two older brothers, Taylor and Weston, own it. Their mother, Carrie, and father, Terry, started Friend of a Famer as a breakfast in Gramercy Park 36 years ago. In addition to helping start the local farm-to-table fresh food movement in the city, Carrie and Terry have always loved the design and build process that’s involved.

“My mom helped with the interior design,” Rose explains. “She has an eye for it. Dad is a builder, so lots of tables and furniture he will actually build. It’s a good mix of restaurant and construction.

The Morabitos look forward to feeding new people and also working with local farmers in nearby Tucker Square. “We are excited to be on the Upper West Side and to open another space. It’s very family oriented, like a home away from home,” says Rose.

Friend of a Famer is slated to open in November 2022, ahead of the holidays, and will serve the same fresh, hearty meals in the same type of setting as their popular Irving Place location. They will be offering 15 different kinds of omelettes, served in skillets, and featuring local eggs, cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and more. “Most people order the farmer’s market omelette,” Rose says. Other choices include their popular pancakes or waffles.

If you like your brunch with a Bloody Mary, they make their own mix which includes a special hot sauce. Other homemade drinks for brunch and dinner include “the agronomist,” made with freshly squeezed cucumber, ginger, lime, and vodka. Also, “Carrie’s Campari”, with grapefruit juice, vodka, muddled jalapeno (shaken in drink), Campari and orange. All of their drink creations are also popular non-alcoholic.

Dinner favorites include chicken pot pie, vegan pot pie, shepherd’s pie, salmon and fish, roast chicken, short ribs and something for everyone.

You never know what you’ll see just by walking around. There are always signs of new things. I will now imagine warming up by the fireplace and eating a large plate of comfort food as the bubbly holiday begins in our booming neighborhood.

Friend of a farmer. 70 West 71st, between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.

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