May 02, 2017

Babcock Ranch’s Table & Top offers healthy choices

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Submitted by Hall+Media Strategies Inc. 4:05 a.m. ET April 29, 2017

Lake Babcock, Table & Tap

Located on the boardwalk along the edge of Lake Babcock, Table & Tap was the first building to be completed at Founder’s Square.(Photo: Submitted)

BABCOCK RANCH — Everywhere you go at Babcock Ranch, you’ll meet people who are passionate about their role in creating a whole new way of living. You’ll see the vision for this solar-powered, eco-centric hometown becoming a reality right before your eyes. At Founder’s Square, you’ll find a place where the full flavor of Babcock Ranch is being served up daily.  And it’s delicious.

Table & Tap, the farm-to-table restaurant on Founder’s Square at the edge of Lake Babcock, opened in early March and has quickly developed a brisk lunch and dinner business. Among the daily flow of 300 to 500 guests, you’ll find a growing group of regulars who stop by three or four times a week.

“Food is what sets us apart — not just sourcing the best possible local ingredients that I can get, but every employee is passionate about what they are doing here and it is a difference you can taste,” Chef David Rashty explained. “As the first restaurant at Babcock Ranch, our menu needs to appeal to all different tastes. We put a lot of time, thought and effort into every component and we are constantly on the lookout for new, local ingredients to keep it fresh and relevant, and keep people coming back.”

Rashty already had a strong local following when he joined the Babcock Ranch team in February.  As the leader of both the local chef’s collaborative and the area’s slow food movement, his passion for sustainable, humanely-raised products made him a perfect fit.

“Food is an incredibly important part of a healthy lifestyle,” added Matt Seiler, director of food and beverage at Babcock Ranch. “The thing we want customers to walk away with is a realization that locally-sourced, organic foods are not only good for their health, they are good for palate. They taste better.”

No matter what you order off the menu, Rashty can tell you exactly where it comes from, and what’s gone into it. It’s a commitment that goes far beyond record keeping. He makes regular visits to local growers and livestock operations and builds relationships with those who share his passion for getting it right. Like Circle C Farm in Felda.

“I’ve spent time there and seen for myself how well the animals are treated. No GMOs, steroids, antibiotics – it’s 100 percent organic,” Rashty said. “It’s all about the chef-farmer relationship.”

“David is very conscientious about using local products everywhere he can – and has a genuine commitment to introducing consumers to the health benefits of organic, sustainable foods,” said Nicole Cruz, owner of Circle C. ““Food is a medicine – those who eat holistically save a lot on doctor’s bills and co-pays. They feel better and live longer with a higher quality of life.”

The flavors you experience at Table & Tap tell the story of a chef who does not take any shortcuts. From chicken stock to marmalades – the only way for Rafty to know exactly what goes into the food he puts on the plate is to make everything from scratch. If you aren’t convinced that the added effort and fresh ingredients make a difference – wait until you bite into the brisket sandwich with fried green tomato and topped with creamy coleslaw. The meat is smoked for a couple of hours, then braised for 15-16 hours in Babcock Brew and cider.

The menu is locally-inspired. Comfort food classics are prepared to gourmet standards. Early favorites include bacon-wrapped meatloaf and beer can chicken. Salad selections reflect the harvest season, featuring nutrient-rich produce from Urban Gardens in North Fort Myers. Refined sugar has been eradicated from all recipes but Chef Rafty substitutes a healthier alternative – locally produced Babcock Honey.

The farm-to-table menu is just one of Table & Tap’s attractions. It’s got a relaxed vibe that makes people want to come stay a while and enjoy live music on the patio every Tuesday and Saturday evening. On weekends families come out and parents find time for conversation while keeping an eye on kids playing yard games, cooling off in the splash pad out in Founder’s Square, or fishing off the boardwalk.

To learn more about living at the eco-centric, solar powered town being created by Kitson & Partners at Babcock Ranch, visit