Local Hero: Best Café, Albuquerque
An Interview with Jacob Elliot, Owner
Photos by Stacey M. Adams
Breakfast tacos at The Farmacy.
Jacob Elliot spent the earlier part of his life traveling and living in as many cities as possible. He settled for many years in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoyed the burgeoning music scene and the highly creative culture. Further travels took him to Los Angeles, Austin, and eventually Albuquerque.
How did you get to where you are now? What’s the backstory, and what was the moment that brought you to your current work?
New to Albuquerque, I was employed at a restaurant that occupied our former space on Mountain Road. When that business moved downtown, I decided to take my idea for a food truck and rework it into a brick-and-mortar space, and our tiny Eighth and Mountain location was born.
Is there a food experience you had prior to starting The Farmacy that has shaped your approach to the restaurant?
In Portland, most of the restaurants source locally. Some even source “hyperlocally,” which means getting produce from small neighborhood farms adjacent to the restaurants. This type of familiarity really lends itself well to putting care and attention into each dish.
Do you have a favorite food memory?
I think I have many more unfavorable food memories! Growing up poor, we often ate terrible food. One such dish was creamed tuna on toast. I remember thinking it was the worst possible thing I’d ever put into my mouth. I think those food memories drove me to want to cook more than any actual favorable ones.
Left: Jacob Elliot, owner of The Farmacy. Right: State Fair—buttermilk waffles topped with cinnamon sugar, strawberries, vanilla cream, whipped cream, and syrup.
How did The Farmacy make it through this past year? Are there any lessons you’ve taken away from this difficult experience that will shape the restaurant going forward?
Whew. The last year was a nightmare that just kept unfolding month after month. We made it by the skin of our teeth, and with some serious improvisation. The overall painful lesson was that stimulus packages offered by the government were often too slow or too complicated to be of any real value. When restaurants needed help financially, they needed it within days, not months. The real hero here is the local community. They came out to save us time after time, and the fact that The Farmacy is even open for business is all thanks to them.
Is there a local food issue that especially motivates you?
Not sure if it is an issue, but I see more restaurants opening up that take actual care with the dishes they are putting out. They are composing thoughtful menu items that look pleasing on the plate. This inspires me because it elevates the eating experience to something much more than just filling your stomach.
What’s your favorite meal on a day off?
I love going to the food halls and sampling different fare. If I can wash it down with a Marble IPA, then my day is complete.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with edible readers?
I have always taken the approach that your attitude directly impacts the amount of knowledge that people want to absorb from you. In this way, I do not tolerate attitude/competitiveness among my staff, especially in the kitchen. This has had the wonderful effect of reminding me to remain humble, and I am often humbled by the outpouring of support from the community. Thank you, edible readers, for your votes of confidence!
3718 Central SE, Albuquerque, 505-227-0330, facebook.com/farmacyabq