For the better part of a decade, this has been the norm. Owners Jeremy Gawthrop and Clayton Suttle were originally inspired to bring locally sourced meals to Fayetteville when visits to places like Boulder and Portland made the lack of similarly minded establishments in Arkansas all the more apparent.
“We came back to Northwest Arkansas and said, ‘Why isn’t there something like this?’” he says. Keeping the local focus, however, is not without its challenges. Stocking the larder of a popular eatery from local farms and farmers markets can be a challenge. Need enough cosmic purple carrots for a weekend special? Not generally a problem. But enough to sustain a popular menu item all week?
Specialty products, for instance, like sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes—which Gawthrop says he loves to death—are tough to come by. But for all the challenges, the duo do their darndest to buy locally. And the variety of what’s available might surprise even the most dedicated foodies of Washington County, Gawthrop says.
“Local bacon, pork chops, lamb chops—you see it at the farmers market, but it’s off people’s radar,” he says. “Arkansas doesn’t have a lot of fruit as far as diversity, but we get lots of apples and pears, peaches. Berries are heavy, and wild pawpaws. When we get local fruit in, I’m thrilled—usually you have to source it from Mexico or California.”
The appeal of Greenhouse Grille has expanded beyond Fayetteville, Gawthrop says. The restaurant has been getting top marks in statewide readers’ choice polls, and he sees it mentioned in Facebook posts from people within and outside of the region. He also hears from customers who have come a long way to dine there.
“A group who was vending at Walmart drove down here to eat and said, ‘We need something like this in Brooklyn,’” Gawthrop says. “You’re kidding me!”—Eric Francis