By Sandy Geddes
Photography by Cody Reid
We are on our way home from an afternoon spent at the Farmhouse Café, which is nestled in the middle of the village of Lake Placid. Next to me on the seat is a take-home container filled with the remains of the Ausable, which is pumpkin pancakes with marmalade butter.
I’m filled to the brim with food I’ve just eaten less than thirty minutes ago. Yet, I find my hand inching toward the container, and with the flip of my thumb, it pops open. I tear off a piece of a now cold pancake and shove it in my mouth.
“OMG, I’m so full.” I remark to my fellow North Volume colleagues. My editor, Jen, replies…”so stop eating.” But I can’t. Despite its chilled temp, the pancake still melts in my mouth and leaves me salivating for more.
We had just spent two hours at the Farmhouse Café, chit-chatting with the manager, Rebecca Tendler and the owner/chef, Greg Michaud. We’d gotten a tip from a local to check the place out, so we ventured out on a rainy Monday afternoon to see for ourselves.
After doing a little pre-interview research, I only found a few mentions of the Farmhouse Café on the internet, primarily on Yelp reviews.
“After visiting Lake Placid for seven summers, I stumbled on this café at the suggestion of a local... OMG how have we been missing this GEM! The pancakes, on the menu as flapjacks, were the best I have ever eaten and they are served with LOCAL maple syrup.”
“Little place...BIG taste!! Delicious breakfast and friendly staff! Well made Hollandaise sauce and perfectly done eggs made my eggs benedict one of the best! I did of course... take a taste of my beau’s pancakes with ADK maple syrup...yum!”
A little place... big taste. Great description. When we entered the small café, located just down the hill from the Olympic Center, the Adirondack vibe, lovely aroma and decor were just as inviting as entering your own kitchen.
We plopped down at the beautiful wooden bar area while the chef began preparing some signature Farmhouse Café dishes for us to sample.
“We like to make our customers happy, so we try to do our best to make their experience a good one. And we are consistent.” Rebecca said. Rebecca has worked alongside Chef Michaud for three years, running the front of the house while Chef runs the kitchen.
“Usually, it’s just the two of us, but sometimes in the summer, we’ll add some additional help in the kitchen and also for the front of the house when it gets really busy.”
According to Rebecca, despite their small presence on the internet, the Farmhouse Café never fails to have a steady flow of satisfied customers, mainly comprised of loyal locals during the week and tourists on the weekends.
“This town is so small, we get a lot of business just by word of mouth.” Tendler said. “There are several dinner options in Lake Placid, and not a lot of breakfast places.”
Chef Michaud quickly prepares five dishes for us to sample. As we wait for the photographer to snap some photos of the beautifully prepared dishes, the chef makes a rare appearance in the front of the house.
NORTH VOLUME: How long have you been in the cheffing business?
CHEF: 35 years. I started out as a dishwasher, working my way up. I was with Mirror Lake Inn for 22 years, again working my way up to become Executive Chef.
NV: Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
CHEF: I think I always knew. I started cooking when I was a little kid. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by world class chefs.
NV: One of reviews states “Little place... big taste.” Have you ever thought about getting a bigger place?
CHEF: I do often look and start dreaming about it. But I’m happy here. I can handle this size. It’s really just Rebecca and I most of the time. I can manage this size.
NV: I’m pretty pumped to try this food!
CHEF: I’d be pretty pumped for you to try it too, before it gets cold!
The Chef’s light hearted joke was all we needed to mow down on the dishes presented before us. And what a presentation.
Each dish featured a delectable breakfast item, that not only looked plentiful, but oh so pretty. Whether a sprinkle of confectioners sugar to decorate the plate, or a potato haystack perched on top of eggs — each meal was a piece of art. Surely a skill the chef had acquired throughout his years of cooking in fine establishments.
The Flaming Rooster, a large breakfast burrito with a surprise kick of sriracha. Inside featured eggs, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, lettuce; it was oh so savory. Definitely the right pick for those who like something with a little extra spice.
We all loved the “Lake Placid”, scrambled eggs that melted in your mouth. Tendler shared that Chef uses cream cheese in the eggs, making them the most delightful scrambled egg experience I’ve ever had. He then adds chives and tomatoes and tops it all off with an elaborate potato haystack. You get the classic potato and egg breakfast experience…. but with flair.
We also sampled the French Toast special which was hand-cut french bread topped with homemade peach sauce and candied walnuts. This carb overload is so worth it though, folks; the subtle sweetness of the warm french toast, topped with tantalizing peach and walnut is enough to say “screw it” to whatever diet you may be on.
My editor’s favorite was the omelette. It was so light and perfectly yellow and fluffy, and filled with just the right amount of goat cheese, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and broccoli. It came with a side of the most perfectly browned home fries you’ve ever seen. Chef Michaud said the omelette is the most ordered item on the menu and they will customize it with ingredients to fit each individual’s taste.
Last, but not least, the Ausable. My personal favorite. The very meal that I picked at on the way home and finished. Sadly, my intent was to bring the remainder home to my kids, who I know would have loved them. Even Tendler, the manager, said, “I don’t like pancakes, but I like our pancakes.” I, personally, am a huge fan of pancake, but I have never experienced a pancake so fluffy and flavorful as I did on my visit to the Farmhouse Café.
I’ll get back on Keto tomorrow (insert winky-face emoji).
While we finished, the manager’s kids strolled in. When asked how they liked the food at the café, the nine year old replied, “It’s epic, bro.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The three of us rolled out of the café, feeling full and happy saying our goodbyes to our new friends who so kindly welcomed us in. This little place, packing a big taste, has thrived in the village of Lake Placid. In the four years it's been open, I’ve probably driven by a couple of dozen times and never paid any attention to it.
We promised to return, and will. As frequently as possible. It’s little gems like the Farmhouse Café that remind you that unexpected nice surprises can happen. Chef Michaud has taken what could have been just another ordinary diner-type establishment and, using the best pieces of his training and natural talent, has instead created an upscale dining experience in a more casual, but charming environment.
It truly is epic, bro.
For more information on Farmhouse Bistro, visit their Facebook page.