In a country full of chain restaurants shipping in menu items from distribution centers across the United States and beyond, the Naked Farmer is digging up its suppliers from right in the Tampa Bay Area.
And from its recently opened St. Petersburg location, the locally sourced restaurant opened its Tampa doors July 9 at Sparkman Wharf downtown, 615 Channelside Dr.
The Naked Farmer offers menus full of meals made from scratch with a mission to eventually become 100 percent local regarding what gets on customers’ tables -- and that’s what makes them stand out, according to the Owner and Founder Jordan Johnson.
Johnson, 33, in June opened the first Naked Farmer off downtown St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue. He said he had eyes on opening in Tampa as a way to bring “unpretentious food that was sourced nearby” to Cigar City.
“I just saw a big opportunity to create something that’s transparent and sources food that was just harvested days ago, instead of weeks ago,” says Johnson, who lives in South Tampa with his wife, Janie, two sons, and infant daughter. “I saw the opportunity to change the food game and bring the local economy with it, starting in Tampa.”
Housed in a food booth, at only 200 square feet, the Tampa Naked Farmer will be much smaller than St. Pete’s 2,000-square-feet locale. The Tampa restaurant will be a walkup facility with advance ordering, delivery, and catering available through www.eatnakedfarmer.com.
(Due to the onset of COVID-19, Naked Farmer’s St. Petersburg location began offering boxes of farm-fresh vegetables for pickup and delivery in addition to the restaurant menu.)
The St. Petersburg and Tampa menus will feature some of the same locally sourced meals such as: “Local Farmer,” a citrus-charred chicken dish; “Southern Comfort,” a grass-fed beef, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable dinner; and “Chicken Kale Caesar,” rosemary-roasted chicken and brown rice. Dinner combinations range in price from $9.68 to $14.93.
Other sample menu items include pecan kale Caesar salad, red-wine braised short rib, and watermelon mint and feta salad – each grown from farms nearby.
Johnson says the Tampa location will be more “hyper-seasonal” with weekly chef specials for vegetables and meats. Some of Johnson’s suppliers include Providence Cattle Company, Dade City; Brick Street Farms, St. Petersburg; and Oliver Heritage Farm, Dover.
Getting the Tampa Naked Farmer meals from kitchen to table will be 10 employees including eight chefs led by Chef de Cuisine Jasmine Funk, coming from On Swann restaurant in South Tampa.
“It’s really not a new idea. It’s like the original diners, unpretentious food that was sourced nearby,” says Johnson, a native of Celebration near Orlando. “It’s kind of going back to the way it used to be -- a fast-casual, elevated refined version of what’s out there. It’s chef-driven cuisine served with hustle.”
And the addition of Naked Farmer to Sparkman Wharf will complement dining establishments already operating in the 2-year-old shopping and entertainment complex, says James Nozar, CEO of Strategic Property Partners, Sparkman Wharf developers.
“As we continue building a diverse mix of restaurants and retailers throughout Water Street Tampa, we’re excited to welcome this healthy restaurant and to be home to another local venture’s first Tampa location,” he states in a written release.
Other restaurants featured at Sparkman Wharf
include: Boat Run Oyster Company, Montados Tapas & Wine by Mise En Place, Swigamajig by Edison, The Corners, Whatever Pops, and Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters.
From Tampa, Johnson says he already has future expansion plans. But for the time being, he’s focusing on developing a solid brand identity in the Tampa market.
“We’ve got some pretty big ambitions. But we’re really focused on doing a great job in our first market, Tampa,” Johnson says. “We’re connecting more farmers to more communities and that’s really the narrative of Naked Farmer -- connecting farmers to people.”
For information, call (813) 553-7106 or visit the Naked Farmer website.