By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
After a successful run with their Food Up Truck beginning in 2016, Tiffiny and Leonardo “Lee” Villar began watching for a brick and mortar to share their southern cuisine with an emphasis on the flavors of New Orleans. Villar has two decades of culinary experience after attending culinary school in Baltimore, Md. After working in restaurants around the world, she and her husband settled down and she stayed home to raise their second child.
It was in 2016 when they began the food truck, where Villar stated, “It was wildly popular.” They used the truck to test their menu and break into the restaurant business without the initial cost of a traditional restaurant setting.
With the success of the truck, the Villar’s began looking for their future home in Tucker County. “I always looked at this building, every time I would drive by I would think wow, I really love that building,” she said. What was ironic was the fleur-de-lis emblem was on the door. Not only do they specialize in New Orleans inspired food, but her husband’s (originally from Spain) family crest also includes the fleur-de-lis. “It was like this building was meant to be our home,” she said.
“We’re actually famous for our pickled pig,” Villar explained. This dish is their version of a slow-roasted pork shoulder, smoked ham, creole mustard, mayonnaise, swiss cheese, and their house pickle. The combination is then pressed on the grill with butter. Villar laughed, “I use a lot of butter, everyone calls me the butter queen.” For dessert, their cheesecake is becoming wildly popular to complete the dining experience.
After purchasing the building, the Villar’s decided to go from Farm Up Truck to Farm Up Table with the motto of jazzy comfort food. “We love the interpretation and the creativity of jazz and that’s how our food comes across,” said Villar. The roots of the menu not only stem from the south, but also from Baltimore, where she is from, and Spain from her husband’s family, but also some other European influence where Villar studied under Master Chef Peter Timmons in Ireland. Ironically, Master Chef Timmons moved to W.Va. before Villar where he served as the Chef at the Greenbriar before relocating to Fla. where he later passed away.
“We want to provide a place that is comfortable, fun, and happy though it’s hard to do right now with the pandemic,” said Villar. Her intention is for patrons to come as they are, everyone is welcome and encouraged to come in and enjoy a great meal. “I want people to feel comfortable and I want them to feel welcome,” she reiterated.
Due to the pandemic and spacing being of utmost importance for safety, seating has been limited within their restaurant at this time. “We’re trying to take all the precautions necessary to keep everyone safe,” said Villar. “We installed medical-grade air purifiers all over the place,” she added, “We’re doing what we can until this is over.”
Lee Villar owns an IT business based out of Baltimore, Md. though helps fill in at the restaurant on the weekends. “This is a joint venture,” said Villar, and their daughter Ariana works there as well. Two additional cooks, one apprentice and one line cook, a dishwasher, and two rotating front desk individuals are on their team to meet the needs of the business.
Current operating hours include Thursday, Sunday, and Monday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. with Friday and Saturday hours set at 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Even though dine-in is limited to maintain appropriate spacing, customers can carry out or request a curbside pickup. Orders can be placed using the Toast app on cellular devices, or by calling in at 304-924-4944. Online orders can also be placed by visiting their website www.farmuptable.com or by clicking on their link on their Facebook page. If dining in is your desire, the Villar’s can be found by typing 272 East Avenue, Thomas, W.Va., 26292 into a GPS.