By Jeanne e. Fredriksen
If you’re familiar with Wake Forest’s Girasole Trat- toria, get ready for its new incarnation as Farm Table. The Giorgios Hospitality Group restaurant is mov- ing away from the current Italian-inspired theme and cuisine. In its place will be a contemporary farm-to- table concept restaurant with seasonal menus and a new farm house-inspired ambiance complete with barn boards, blackboards, mismatched chairs and apple crates. Partner/Owner Laszlo Lukacsi and Gen- eral Manager Todd Skipper expect the changeover tbe fully accomplished by mid-July. “We’re working with as many local resources aspossible,” Lukacsi said, “and that means money goes back locally and to the farmers. Wake Forest is a very small community, like Rolesville, Youngsville, Franklinton, Louisburg – those are the ones support- ing us on a daily basis, and we want to support the communities.”
Lukacsi and Skipper have been working with the Wake Forest and Raleigh farmers’ markets, other Wake Forest providers, and local farmers within a 100-mile radius.
“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the customer,” Skipper added.
New York Bagels & Deli in Heritage bakes and delivers their no-preservative rolls and breads each morning. Beef comes from Harris-Robbinette Beef Farms in Pinetops. Poultry and lamb are provided by Pura Vida Farms in Bahama, and pork comes from Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork in Seven Springs. All meats and poultry are 100 percent grass-fed. Even cheese comes from Prodigal Farm in nearby Rouge- mont.
They’ll also feature North and South American wines, including some from North Carolina, locally crafted beers including White Street Brewing, and lo- cally distilled spirits.
There’s an abiding respect for their providers that Lukacsi was eager to discuss. He believes that farm- ers have been pushed around for too long, “but it’s circling back. People are more conscious about what they eat, the food they put in their bodies. They want to know where their food is coming from, how it has been raised, so this is perfect.
“The term ‘organic’ is a certification that gets messy sometimes,” he continued, “but what’s more important is the relationship and love that you see the farmers put- ting into what they raise. You know they’re not tak- ing shortcuts, just like us; we don’t want to take shortcuts. And our farmers are indepen- dent growers, independent family-owned farms. Local farmers work so hard, and people seem to forget about them, but we won’t let that happen here.”
Some items have slowly been introduced into the cur- rent menu, as have pieces of décor and fixtures, all of which have been well-re- ceived. Some of the decora- tions have even come from local antique shops. But the changeover has been a gradual one, and Lukacsi and Skipper aren’t planning a big grand opening. Instead, they want operations to be disrupted as little as possible while letting the food speak for itself.
“The great thing about this concept is that if we have two or three items that aren’t moving in a week or so, we can change the menu and bring in something new,”
Skipper said. “That’s the ex- citing, creative part.”
“Good honest food with local freshness is what we’re all about,” Lukacsi said. “I believe that with this farm- to-table concept, in 10 years as more people do this, the local farmers will have their
moment and come back strong because the quality of most food people buy is poor quality.
“Grass-fed beef tastes dif- ferent. It has better flavor and is higher quality than what people are used to. We didn’t raise our prices when we in- troduced it. And it’s better for you,” Lukacsi continued. “The bottom line is that our commitment to our custom- ers is to source locally and to provide the highest-quality ingredients possible.”
960 Gateway Commons Circle, Wake Forest, NC 27587
Menu: Appetizers, small and large plates, small and large salads, family-style options, farm-specific dinners
Food Pricing: $6-$22
Wine: $25-$50/bottle; $6-$10/glass
Serving: Dinner only, 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday