NEW BREMEN — Green Thumb Farm Fresh Cafe is made from scratch—not just the farm-to-table menu of paninis, desserts and soups but the business itself.
The building and the restaurant concept is the handiwork of proprietor Samantha Fledderjohann.
The most challenging aspect of finally being open for business on Ohio 66 as of Dec. 19, Fledderjohann said, is the commitment the restaurant takes, about twice as many hours per day as the business is open.
She said, however, the effort is worth it.
“I wake up and I live my dream every day,” she said. The cafe, located along Ohio 66 between St. Marys and New Bremen, is officially open for breakfast and lunch and the traffic has been steady, Fledderjohann said.
“We have a great lunch crowd,” she said.
“We’ve had several repeat customers, some as many as four times already.”
The cafe has a Facebook page, but the only indicator that it is there is an ‘open’ flag that flies near the road.
“Everybody that’s been here so far, this has been word of mouth,” she said.
“We’ve had very positive reviews and...they seem very happy.”
She and the staff, which includes a large number of her family members, have learned a great deal about making things flow.
Fledderjohann said the customers have been very open about giving helpful criticism, and that she has eagerly listened and implemented suggested changes whenever possible.
“We’re still working toward our ultimate goal, to be, you know, the best that we can be,” she said.
The menu is filled with items made from local, non-MSG filled food, which was important to Fledderjohann.
Bags of local apples and local honey are sold at the front, and all the syrups come from somewhere in Ohio.
“It’s all very high quality, but I think our prices are...extremely competitive at the same time,” Fledderjohann said.
There are daily sandwich specials that are not on the menu and which change every day.
Bestselling lunch items so far include the turkey-bacon avocado panini and the baby bella panini, which is one of the vegetarian options.
Gluten-free breads are always available upon request, and there are different vegan and gluten-free desserts available every day.
Fledderjohann said that more baked goods are in the works, and that she will be working with a local person who will create specialty Valentine’s Day baskets filled with fresh chocolate-covered strawberries, cookies, and other sweets.
The soups, which have also already become favorites among the customers, are made in-house by Fledderjohann and her sister.
One thing the cafe has going for it is that Fledderjohann treats every customer as a friend.
“Thank you sir,” she said, addressing a couple who was leaving after their lunch.
“Everything was very good,” the customer said.
“How was your lunch? What did you have?” Fledderjohann asked him.
“Oh, you had the special? OK.”
“You must have some good cooks here,” he said.
Fledderjohann hopes to expand her business and offer catering in the future, but she says as the cafe closes at 2 p.m., it can currently be rented out by businesses or families with the purchase of food. Fledderjohann’s brother, CJ Goins, handles that aspect of the business.
They currently have a business room in the back of the building that is now available to rent for business meetings.
“If a corporation would want something special for their business, we’re able to do that,” Fledderjohann said.
The cafe will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. today.
Hours this month will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“Then, in the summer when Green Thumb is open, we’re going to extend our hours a lot longer, because we’ll have smoothies and (frozen coffee),” she said, both of which she plans to introduce in April.