The popular Wyebrook Farm restaurant in Honey Brook will not reopen this summer due to harsh economic realities and red tape, writes Michaelle Bond for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Net farm income across the country this year is expected to drop eight percent – $5.4 billion – from 2017 totals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Farmers looking for additional revenue streams have embraced the “farm-to-table” restaurant concept, but the restaurant business “is really tough” with the average net profit about five percent, said John Longstreet, president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Dean Carlson, a former hedge-fund manager, bought the 360-acre Wyebrook Farm in 2010. He opened the restaurant in 2012. In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection told Carlson he should have obtained sewer permits before opening the restaurant.
Carlson said he was not aware he needed the permits. The restaurant had apparently slipped through some regulatory cracks when it opened. Meeting state regulations would be too costly, so Carlson decided in November to close his restaurant.
On April 28, the farm will host its annual music festival. Guests will eat from independent food trucks, not the restaurant’s kitchen. All the meat the trucks serve, however, will come from Wyebrook Farm.
Read more about Wyebrook Farm in The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.