Culinary Crossroads: Introducing M&P's American Elegance on 30A - 30A



Culinary Crossroads: Introducing M&P’s American Elegance on 30A

By: Carrie Honaker | Posted Jan 17, 2024

Before standing in line at TSA, waiting for luggage, and running through airports to catch a connection became emblematic of travel, Pullman Train Cars ferried passengers from one end of the country to another in style. Rich walnut covered the walls, sumptuous fabrics upholstered the seating, and brass fixtures populated the spaces. The feeling of grand adventure permeated every surface. 

Reminders of that age of travel whisper throughout the space Will and Liz Farrington opened on 30A. M&P’s tall, arched windows on either side look to the landscape, the mirrors give depth forward and aft, plush emerald velvet benches line the walls, and brass accents pop throughout the dining room. But the ceiling seals the connection—the rich navy color and elaborate brass chandelier that looks like a vintage dress form with twinkling Edison lights brings to mind a vast night sky as you transit the American landscape.

Like the Pullman Train Car that inspired the Farringtons’ vision, Will wants to connect foods from all over the country.

He added, “We have mountain ranges, deserts, tropical regions, and so many different kinds of terroir and food. My goal is to show off what I think is beautiful food that we have to offer here in the United States. Liz went the same direction with the wines. We have some heavy hitters from the Pacific Northwest, but we also wanted to try to show some other wine regions of the country that deserve attention.”

As intentional as each choice at M&P feels, it was an ever-building snowball of chances that brought the restaurant to life. 

Will started cooking at 21 when he came home from college and all his dad had in the house was Cheetos and Stouffer’s meals.

But it wasn’t a career yet.

Working in real estate throughout his 20s, his hobbies were breaking down whole pigs, curing meats, and food science. He always had his hands in the culinary world until he decided to make it more than a hobby. He sold everything, moved to Napa Valley, and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

After graduation, he worked his way around Napa, moved to L.A. to run a Mexican food trailer, and finally landed at Oak at 14th in Boulder, Colorado. “Working my way up at Oak was like getting my MBA in the restaurant business. There was so much more than just cooking the food, but the food is excellent as well,” Will said.

Chance intervened once again in March 2020. Liz and Will grew up together in Naples, Florida and a trip to pick up his mom’s engagement ring from his dad disguised as a family visit led to the Farringtons settling in Florida. 

“I was at the airport flying back to Colorado when everybody started shutting down restaurants and the world started closing up. The owner of Oak called me and told me I might as well stay in Florida for a little while because he was closing the restaurant on Monday. Instead of getting on a plane, we rented a car and drove to 30A,” Will said.

Liz’s family had a house in Seaside so they decided to quarantine (and get married) on 30A. But Will’s itch to be in the kitchen persisted. He elaborated, “I built Farrington Foods because I needed to cook and nobody could go out to dinner. It grew organically through family friends wanting cooking classes because everybody was going stir crazy.”

In November 2021, Will and Liz set up shop in Seaside’s parking lot during the farmers market. It was restaurant week and Will was making tater tots from a portable fryer in the cold weather with a newborn strapped to his chest while Liz sold the tots to passersby. 

Those early tater tots gave rise to one of the dishes on M&P’s tasting menu: the Flight of Tots.

With a vow to never work a kitchen line again unless it was his own, Will took every opportunity to share his food with the 30A community. Between weekly stints at the Seaside Farmers Market, he went to homes and taught people how to make tortillas which led to elevated catered meals which created a flurry of business that occupied all of the Farrringtons’ days and nights. 

But again it was a chance encounter that led to the next step in Will’s culinary odyssey. He elaborated, “My son goes to the Treehouse School. I was just driving one morning after dropping him off when I spotted a for lease sign on the gate of the old Cove building. I had been looking for a commercial kitchen in a small space for a long time. But it was really important to me that it was on 30a, and here it was.”

Fast forward to January 5th, 2024. The dining room is full for their soft open. Delicate sunchoke chips and vintage glassware sit on every table. A thoughtful menu that includes elegant plays on Sunday pot roast, chicken and dumplings, and more inspires nostalgia. Each wine amplifies the dish it pairs with. 

“Around the world, food establishes cultural identity. If you go to Parma where parmesan cheese is in their soul and you spend time with a chef, he will talk to you about it as if it’s his long-lost brother.”

“I sometimes think that in this country, food is more of a job. Nobody identifies it as a part of their ancestral DNA. This restaurant is a vehicle for me to showcase how beautiful American ingredients can be and how proud we should be.”

“I hope everything you eat reminds you of something you’ve eaten before but different or better,” Will said.

Be on the lookout for a beer pairing menu and a second seating to add to their Wednesday through Saturday 7 p.m. slot.

Until then, there is a wine menu that highlights lesser-known regions and grapes, an elegant backdrop for an evening of fine dining, and the crispy chicken skin atop the chicken and dumplings that I will remember for a long time—the chip-like garnish is steeped in flavor and the perfect contrast to the pillowy dumpling. 

To learn more, visit M&P by Farrington Foods or follow them on Facebook.

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Carrie Honaker is a Florida-based freelance writer who is not sure where she will land next, but it will involve messy eating, a spicy Tempranillo, and finding the local dive bar. Her work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Bon Appetit, and others. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @writeonhonaker.