Avanti Closeup: Tim Payne's Farmer Girl

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Avanti Food & Beverage opens today at 11 a.m., so this week we'll be offering a close-up look at each of the seven eateries inside, starting with Farmer Girl, chef-owner Tim Payne's farm-centered concept built around local and sustainable ingredients. Farmer Girl's menu will change frequently, especially in the summer, when seasonal produce hits quickly and doesn't stick around long.

Many of Payne's dishes are vegetarian, mostly to make the produce the star of each dish, but Colorado lamb, pork and beef also make appearances. "We're trying to highlight transparency," the chef explains, so he'll talk about the source of every ingredient with those who are interested. "But we're trying not to preach, because it turns people off."

Instead, the ingredients speak for themselves in simple, straightforward presentations. One dish on the opening menu, a three-pea salad, gives love to one of Colorado's most fleeting ingredients in a medley of snap peas, snow peas and English peas, all dressed with a pea coulis and tangy bites of Haystack Mountain goat feta. "Peas are only around for about three weeks," Payne points out, adding that the peas, along with many other vegetables, were a few weeks behind this year because of the cool, rainy weather. "The delays we had [in opening Avanti] were a blessing in disguise for me. Everything is starting to explode from the farms."

The goal for Farmer Girl is primarily "supporting the local farm system," he adds. The name Farmer Girl comes from "honoring strong female farmers" in the region; Payne includes Jackie Monroe of Monroe Organic Farms and Anne Cure of Cure Organic Farm among them, as well as his wife,  Melissa Newell, who has her own vegetable plot and resembles the farmer girl with the long dark hair in his eatery's logo, he says.

Sourcing and transparency are important enough to Payne that while he relies heavily on local farms through the growing season, he turns to Grower's Organic, a Colorado company that provides organic ingredients year-round, mainly from California, during the winter months. 
The chef's suggestion for what to try on the new menu? A carrot "nose-to-tail" dish that uses the entire carrot in a carrot pancake with carrot hummus, pickled carrot, a carrot-top salsa verde and even a topper of fried carrot crisps made from cleaned carrot peel.

Payne also runs the Tasterie Truck in Boulder County, which he plans to rebrand to match his Farmer Girl eatery, and also hosts regular farm dinners at local farms. Before opening the Tasterie Truck and Farmer Girl, he worked at Z Cuisine with chef-owner Patrick DuPays; he also owned Terroir in Longmont from 2007 to 2012 with his wife.

This week we're spotlighting the seven fast-casual food counters inside the brand new Avanti Food & Beverage building, which just opened on Monday. Here are our other Avanti close-ups:
Souk Shawarma from Jon Robbins of Bistro Barbes
Poco Torteria from Pinche's Kevin Morrison
Brava Pizzeria from Dave Bravdica

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.