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Fennel-crusted salmon bowl at Ferne + Holly

This might come as a surprise, but the Country Cat’s Adam and Jackie Sappington don’t eat lard-fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits every night with their children. Instead, they tend towards the same healthy staples as the rest of us: brown rice, eggs, fish, and greens…they just do it better. That’s the premise at Ferne + Holly, the weekday morning-only pop-up (10 a.m.–3 p.m. most Mondays–Fridays), set inside the Country Cat’s next-door event space, the Calico Room. 

Here’s the skinny on Ferne + Holly: 1. Always call ahead (they sometimes hold morning events at the Calico Room) 2. Don’t plan on dining in. The space is spare and the silverware is plastic; think of it as top-tier fast food. 3. Short of whipping up an exemplary, healthy breakfast yourself, you really can’t do better. 

“Country Cat is so Americana, which is great,” says Adam Sappington. “But it’s nice to eat something different. My kids are athletes and need to eat healthy. [Jackie and I] aren’t getting any younger, either.” That translates to a menu of toasts (think whole wheat buttermilk bread topped with Nutella, bananas, hazelnuts, and cocoa nibs), bowls, smoothies, and juices.

That creamy, hearty Nutella toast is a big hit with kids, if you don’t mind the sugar intake (hey, at least it’s all made in-house). On a recent visit, the substantial fennel-crusted salmon bowl with zucchini “noodles” and edamame vinaigrette ($13) was cooked to the same on-point doneness as the salmon next door, but the rice was drastically under-seasoned. For a quick, on-the-run bite, the crispy breakfast taco is already a hit: lacy fried cheddar, ham, egg, and Mama Lil’s peppers for $5. (Though it’s stretching the definition of “healthy.")

The Sappingtons are tentatively calling Ferne + Holly a pop-up, but hope to keep it going indefinitely for the 9–5 crowd, as long as there’s interest. Because, unfortunately, we can’t be eating the Whole Hog platter everyday.

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Country Cat Dinner House & Bar

$$ Southern 7937 SE Stark St

Missouri native Adam Sappington is evangelical in matters of meat and a master of American vernacular cooking— somewhere between a nose-to-tail preacher and ...