Former Zebadiah’s reborn as Porter's Restaurant
FARMINGTON — The former Zebadiah’s Restaurant has new owners, a new look and a new name.
Mike and Christi Ulrich bought the restaurant at 2210 E. 20th St. in April and officially changed its name two weeks ago. Now called Porter’s Restaurant, it will soon be renamed Porter’s Restaurant and Smokehouse.
But the restaurant's new owners aren't new to the restaurant business. The couple has owned Blue Moon Diner, which is also located on 20th Street several blocks west of Porter's, for 20 years.
Mike Ulrich said the couple decided to purchase the restaurant because they like the location and saw potential in the building. The restaurant's former owners, Rocky and Lorie Thomson, retired.
"I’ve always liked this restaurant and knew it had really good bones," Mike Ulrich said. "It just needed to be freshened up a bit."
The couple opted to keep much of what Zebadiah’s customers liked, including the country-western theme. But they've given the restaurant a "facelift" by installing new flooring, paint, lighting and decorative artwork.
Like the former restaurant, Porter’s will offer party and banquet space, as well as catering.
"I call it 'upscale country,'" said Christi Ulrich. "We kept the cowboy theme, but the décor is a little more polished, with a modern twist."
The couple has also decided to make the eatery more of a steakhouse, offering specials such as herb-roasted prime rib every Friday and "Sunday roast" dinners featuring entrees like bourbon molasses glazed ham with baked sweet potatoes and cinnamon honey butter.
Christi Ulrich said the Sunday dinners focus on traditional comfort food with an upscale twist.
"I was born and raised here, and in my culture, we went to church on Sundays and then had a Sunday dinner, which was typically roast beef, roast chicken or roast pork," she said. "That’s what we’re trying to do here, but incorporating chef’s specialties."
In addition to 10 new menu items such as maple grilled salmon and orange chipotle chicken, the restaurant will use a charbroiler to offer new flame-broiled meats, adding a new layer of flavor to the meat.
"We also have our own smoker, and we’re roasting our meats in different woods," Mike Ulrich said, citing the pulled pork smoked in pecan wood as an example.
The couple has also applied for a beer and wine license and hopes to have it secured by February. They plan to expand the hours — and officially rename the business Porter’s Restaurant and Smokehouse — after obtaining the license.
"Many people like a good wine when they’re having a good steak, or a good beer when they’re having barbecue," Christi Ulrich said. "But we still definitely want the restaurant to be very family-oriented."
The couple said several features offered by the former restaurant will remain, such as the 63-item salad bar and free ice cream cones. They also kept the daily buffet, which offers Mexican, German, Italian, New Orleans and Texas-style barbecue food items.
The couple said another thing Zebadiah’s was known for was community altruism, and they plan to continue that. They will provide a complimentary buffet for volunteers who help out at the Farmington Police Department's Shop with a Cop event.
Like their predecessors, they will also give away two 8-foot tall stockings filled with toys at Christmastime, as their predecessors did.
"We’re trying to hold on to the great things people loved (about Zebadiah’s) but introducing some new things," Christi Ulrich said.
Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.
What: Porter’s Restaurant
Location: 2210 E. 20th St. in Farmington
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays,11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends