January 12, 2017

Travelers Rest's Farmhouse Tacos Now Open

Greenville News Online

Lillia Callum-Penso


At long last, Chris Williamson is seeing a lifelong dream become reality. Williamson’s restaurant, Farmhouse Tacos, opens Thursday at 164 S. Main St., in Travelers Rest, and with it, a chance for Williamson, and his wife and business partner, Katie, to cultivate the restaurant and food experience he has been building step by step over 18 years in the industry.

“I think over time it becomes a mantra almost and you just chant it all day every day long while you’re chopping cases of onions – I’m gonna open my own restaurant one day, I’m gonna open my own restaurant one day,” Williamson said of his longtime goal. “And at some point, it’s like the stars aligned and we took a chance and here we are, we’re doing it.”

Farmhouse Tacos brings together all the things that Williamson loves – good food, thoughtfully sourced ingredients, carefully crafted drinks and creativity. The restaurant is located at the new development that will also soon house the Tasting Room, a boutique wine and beer store, as well. The menu is inspired by Williamson’s years in restaurant kitchens, but also what he calls his love of classical French cooking. Everything, from sauces to plating is rooted in that passion.

Williamson brings a wealth of experience leading kitchens throughout Greenville. He did not go to culinary school, but has instead grown his knowledge through mentorships with other chefs, honing his skills and passion for classic French technique. The Greenville native got his first restaurant job at the age of 14, working his way up. He went to college briefly to study business, but the allure of the kitchen drew him in.

But always, Williamson knew he wanted to do something of his own. The idea for tacos came about for several reasons. One, the classic French white table cloth style restaurant is on the way out, according to Williamson, and two, the tortilla is a vehicle for practically anything you can dream up.

“The tortilla is like a blank canvas,” Williamson said.

That classic training will carry over into Farmhouse Tacos. The restaurant is not a traditional taqueria, but it is a creative one. The menu consists of a handful of small plates, four quesadillas, some veggie sides and some larger plates, but the crux is tacos. The tacos come in a variety of forms, representing Williamson’s passion for balancing traditional and nontraditional flavors.

Want a more traditional taco? Try the grass fed ground beef, with sharp cheddar, pico de gallo, romaine and chipotle aioli, or the ancho charred chicken, with a honey jalapeno crema. Craving something more out of the box? The fried catfish, with green tomato chow chow, cabbage and tartar sauce, might fit the bill. And then there is also the Travelers Rest hot chicken. The taco is inspired by the popular Nashville treat, with Williamson’s own take on the spicy fried chicken with cornbread croutons, pickled okra and a buttermilk dressing.

“If you took the tortilla away it’s basically almost like small plate tapas style food,” Williamson said of the Farmhouse Tacos menu. “It lends itself to so many different types of food. We could do an Asian pork belly taco or a southern fried chicken style taco.”

Aside from food, Williamson has put a lot of thought into the drinks side of the menu. Farmhouse features a few types of margaritas, which will come served in Mason jars and will feature fresh squeezed lime juice.

“My bartenders hate it...

Farmhouse is also a vehicle for Williamson’s passion for local food. Both he and Katie have spent much time touring local farms, and scouring farmers markets for ingredients. Farmhouse will use produce from Beechwood Farms and use pork from North Carolina-based Heritage Farms and beef from Hickory Nut Gap Farm. And honey will come from the local store on Main Street in Travelers Rest.

“Mother Nature is the true artist,” Williamson says. “It’s so easy to be inspired when you tour a farm and see a strawberry at its peak.”

But aside from that, the tortillas are also coming from a local tortilla factory, Williamson said. The freshly made tortillas are also the base for Farmhouse’s chips, which are fried to order.

“You talk to these farmers and producers, and they pour their heart and soul into it,” Williamson said. “I just feel like we should support the local farmers and the local economies.”

Farmhouse Tacos is located at 164 S. Main St., Travelers Rest. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more call 864-610-0586 or visit www.farmhousetacos.com