Local food is a big deal in Iowa City. One more restaurant has joined the local food family. In January of this year, Pullmans Bar and Diner opened with a commitment to local food and agriculture production. The chefs, Ben Smart and Sepehr Sadrzadeh have worked in upscale restaurants in Kansas City, Seattle, and along the West Coast. They bring with them a strong preference for local and organic food, which the restaurant owners are 100% supporting.
Pullman's has accepted the challenges that come with using as much local ingredients as possible, such as the logistics of ordering from multiple suppliers, product pricing, and seasonal availability. Pullman's approach is to sit down with a farmer and have a frank conversation about logistics and price. This has yielded successful relationships with multiple producers including:
- Farmer's Henhouse in Kalona, Iowa
- Heartland Fresh Family Farm in Donnellson, Iowa
- Green Shares in the Iowa City area
Weekend brunch is popular at Pullman's. If you try it out, your brunch will probably include eggs from Farmer's Henhouse, bacon from Heartland Fresh Family Farms, and an assortment of things from the member farms of Green Shares (a CSA that includes items from multiple producers). All of the contributing producers are highlighted on the back of the menu.
While I hear they have a tasty burger on the menu, it is not grass-fed meat and probably not local. However, they are purchasing pork and chicken from grass-fed beef producers Mark and Leslie Huslebus of Heartland Fresh Family Farm, so perhaps it's only a matter of time.... or maybe if you request it, you'll see it on there soon.
Author's NOTE: For grass-fed beef to be a viable food source, producers gotta graze it, chefs gotta prepare it, and people gotta eat it. Each group has much to adjust to and learn - you have to manage the land differently, cook it a little differently (less fat in the meat, means you need more oil on the grill), and give yourself a chance to adjust to the (possibly) different taste of the meat. But different can be good - good for the planet and good for your health :)