Bettina Hamblin got into the catering business after earning her BFA in painting from UT. After 10 years running Luxe Catering, she realized she wanted to open a restaurant. Hamblin found a storefront on Northshore Drive just west of the Pellissippi Parkway and opened up last June. She calls it Farmacy because good food is good medicine—and she uses fresh farm-to-table ingredients and makes everything from scratch.
Patrons enter and order at the cash register up front. “Our storefront feels approachable,” says Hamblin, “and that’s what we wanted.” To the left is a long corridor lined with a banquette, two-person square wooden tables, and armless white spoked chairs. With an eye to the families in the area, Farmacy is kid friendly, and service is quick—for those dining in and those taking out.
In the farm theme, servers wear crisp black and white gingham checked shirts. “Farmacy is where you go when you’re not feeling like getting dressed up,” says Hamblin.
Specialty items are presented artfully on white no-frills china. Desserts like Roasted Banana Pudding ($4) come in a shaped glass and Peanut Butter Pie ($4) in a mini Bell Jar. “We’re simple but playful,” says Hamblin.
“Comfort food brings memories back to you,” says Hamblin. “You don’t eat with strangers. You eat with friends. Familiar smells create nostalgia that brings the good-heart feelings. We do familiar dishes with a twist.”
The Good Greens salad ($8.95) is finely chopped kale with tomatoes, parmesan and whole-grain croutons in a homemade lemon parmesan Caesar dressing. The Vitality Bowl ($13.5) mixes corn, black beans, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, feta, radish, red onion, sprouts, grilled chicken, and a fried egg—all on a bed of arugula.
For a starter, the Stack ($7.95) piles fried green tomatoes with artichoke pesto, marinara, goat cheese and fresh basil.
For the best French Dip around, try the Good Ole Boy ($11.95) of braised brisket, sweet onions, melted white cheddar with horseradish cream, and au jus.
Among the main dishes, Shrimp and Grits ($14.95) presents creamy smoked gouda Shelton Farms grits, Creole red sausage gravy, blackened shrimp, and pickled green tomatoes. The grilled Salmon ($14.95) comes with a maple-pecan glaze over browned butter green beans. The Pepper Crusted Beef Brisket ($13.95) is slow cooked for 12 hours until it is fork tender and rich in flavor. It is served over smashed red potatoes with a side of tomato jam.
Rounding out the comfort food, daily specials ($10) include Meatloaf on Wednesdays and Chicken Pot Pie with a creamy white wine gravy on Fridays. The smashed red bliss potatoes ($3) get their creamy texture from lots of butter and a bit of sour cream.
For the full comfort food experience, don’t pass up the Strawberry Cream Cake ($4.50) filled with cream cheese buttercream; the roasted Banana Pudding ($4), finished with whip, homemade salted caramel sauce, and homemade short bread; or the Nutella Layer Cake ($5) of dark chocolate cake filled with Nutella buttercream and topped with ganache.
Farmacy is priced for families. With daily specials at $10, main dishes between $11.95 and $14.95, and the desserts between $4 and $5, the total bill is merciful.
Farmacy offers a lavish brunch menu, including light and airy New Orleans beignets, on weekends until 3 p.m. Note that Farmacy does not take reservations.