The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 14, 2012

Locally grown, organic ingredients at heart of new pizzeria

By Mike Pound
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Eric Dicharry and Jamey Smith have a thing for local. The Joplin men who own and operate the Mohaska Farmhouse, 1821 S. Main St., place a great deal of weight on buying local food products to stock their restaurant's shelves.

The hillbilly bacon, served on many of their savory sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas comes from Hatfield Meats near Neosho, and their Italian sausage comes from the Ozark Heritage Farm, south of Joplin. Much of their produce comes from local growers like the Fredrickson's in Carl Junction or from growers at the Webb City Farmers Market.

"We know where it (their food supplies) come from and we know that it's not being injected with steroids," Dicharry said.

If the seasons don't allow local purchases, Dicharry and Smith order their ingredients from organic growers they know and trust.

"If it's not in season, we order it. If it is in season, we go get it," Dicharry said.

Dicharry, who spent his college years working at The Kitchen Pass in Joplin, had spent nearly 15 years running a candy vending machine operation when Smith, who owned the Redings Mill Bread Co., approached him about opening a place of their own. Dicharry jumped at the offer.

In January, the two men purchased the old Green Yates building on South Main Street that had been damaged during the May 2011 tornado. It took two months to clean the building, and then Dicharry and Smith went to work on turning the former appliance store into a restaurant.

"It was a seven-day-a-week job, but I had been in the candy business so long it was good to actually be creating something with my  hands. It (the work) was a joy," he said.

The cornerstone of the Mohaska Farmhouse kitchen is probably the red brick wood-fired oven where the restaurant cooks turn out hand-crafted pizzas. Dicharry said it took three tries to get the exact oven he and Smith were looking for.

The pizza dough, as well as all of the breads served at the Mohaska Farmhouse, are handmade daily with organic flours, sea salt and water.

But don't let the emphasis on healthy ingredients fool you. The Sicilian, for example, is a sandwich that can easily feed two hungry adults. Served on toasted wheat bread, the sandwich has caramelized onions, provolone, tomato, lettuce, a creamy garlic sauce, Italian sausage and hillbilly bacon.

The pizzas range from a cheese pizza with provolone, mozzarella and Parmesan to the Carnivore, which is topped with Italian sausage, hillbilly bacon and pepperoni.

The restaurant features a number of daily homemade soup specials, including French onion, a wild mushroom chili, a sausage chili and a home-style potato soup.

There are also daily bread specials such as whole wheat, seeded whole wheat, chocolate cream cheese, Asiago, raisin pecan and jalapeno cheese. Desserts include an apple pecan flatbread and ice cream floats made with Anderson's ice cream. The restaurant's bar serves a number of craft brews as well as organic wines and cocktails.

The Mohaska Farmhouse is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through  Saturday.