New owners and a new chef are breathing new life into a small breakfast and lunch spot in the Farmington community of Mocksville.
Lauren Jenkins and her fiancee, Wesley Kapp, own The Feed Bag at 2339 N.C. 801, near the intersection with Farmington Road. The chef is Mike Bullock, formerly of Hutch & Harris in downtown Winston-Salem.
The restaurant had been run as The Feed Bag & Provisions since 2009 under owners Mike and Carolyn Freeman, first as a market and restaurant and later as just a restaurant.
“We bought it July 8, closed it for a week to do renovations and reopened July 15,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, 29, has spent all of her working life in the restaurant business. “I went to work at Little Richard’s (now Real Q, in Wallburg) when I was 15,” she said. She also has worked as a server at such restaurants as Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Tanglewood Pizza Co. and, most recently, Midtown Cafe & Dessertery.
Her purchase of the restaurant occurred more or less by chance, after Jenkins happened to mention to the owners’ family how much she liked the place.
“I always liked this building,” she said, noting that years ago it was Johnson’s Grocery and Service. An unused side room, the former car bay, on the side still has the car lift in it, as well as restored Nissen wagon and other antiques.
Kapp, 40, works in commercial flooring, and he was able to help Jenkins fix up the place in a hurry, with new paint, chairs and the like. He even restored an old wooden cupboard from his great-grandmother’s house to put in the 45-seat dining room. He’s also been eyeing the concrete floor, thinking he’d like to give it a coat and polish sometime soon.
Finding Bullock kind of happened by chance, too. Bullock, 38, has worked in a handful of Winston-Salem restaurants, including Bleu and the Tavern in Old Salem, since moving down here from Michigan 11 years ago to be close to family members. He had worked at Hutch & Harris for the past five years and had just moved into the head chef position, when owner Greg Richardson announced a monthlong closing in June for renovations and other changes. That closing became permanent in July.
Jenkins, who had worked with Bullock at Tanglewood Pizza Co., originally hired him just to help out in the short-term during his month off. “I thought I would just get it established, get the recipes set and train everybody,” Bullock said.
But, all of the sudden, he was available to stay on longer, so that worked out for everyone.
Bullock is doing most everything from scratch. He hand-shapes the 6-ounce burger patties, makes his own pimento cheese for burgers, and mixes his own Thousand Island dressing for the Reubens.
The former restaurant had a similar menu of typical breakfast dishes plus sandwiches and burgers for lunch. But Bullock and Jenkins have both tightened and expanded the offerings. At breakfast, they added pancakes, French toast and corned beef hash. At lunch, they increased the burger options, changed the sandwiches, and added salads.
Bullock doesn’t consider himself a baker, but for breakfast he is making biscuits — accompanied by homemade sausage gravy. Other baked goods are made by Brandi Doub, who also made some of the artwork on the walls. Doub has been supplying cookies, pound cake, carrot cake and coconut cream pie. “She brought in like 20 hand pies the other day, and I couldn’t keep them in there. We keep selling out of all her stuff,” Jenkins said.
Two biscuits and gravy sell for just $3.75 at breakfast. The “farmer’s breakfast” of two eggs, sausage or bacon, hashbrowns, biscuit and choice of grits or gravy costs $5.75. Corned beef hash with two eggs runs $5.75.
The four burgers run from $5.75 to $7.50. The single 6-ounce Rancher ($6.25) comes with pepper Jack cheese, grilled onions, jalapeno and spicy mayonnaise. The two-patty Clydesdale — that’s 12 ounces of beef — costs $7.50 and includes a fried egg, bacon, pimento cheese and spicy mayo. The latter is a creation of Kapp. “I was thinking of something to go with the Feed Bag theme, so I thought of horses, and I knew it had to be big,” he said. He and Jenkins joked that they call it “the finisher,” because it’s so big and filling.
Sandwiches include the Reuben ($7.25) and Farmington Grill ($7.25) with ham or turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. “The Reuben is our No. 1 seller,” Jenkins said. “There’s something about Mike’s Russian dressing.”
There’s also grilled chicken ($7.50) and a BLT ($5.50). Chicken salad is available as a sandwich ($6.25) or plate ($6.75). Bullock makes the chicken salad from scratch. “There’s only a few ingredients. I like to add a little lemon juice to brighten it up,” he said.
Other salads are the grilled chicken ($7.50) and Head Honcho ($7.25), which includes ham or turkey, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and cheddar cheese.
Burgers and sandwiches come with choice of such sides as fries, pasta salad, slaw, seasonal fruit or house-made potato chips.
Breakfast is served from 7 to 10:30 a.m. and lunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The owners are considering adding a Friday night supper in the near future.
Jenkins and Kapp said they hope that the Feed Bag will become a neighborhood spot where everyone feels at home.
“Davie is a small county, and almost everybody in Farmington knows each other,” Kapp said. “We want to be that kind of community place.”