I was one of the lucky ones. On Wednesday, around midday, a friend and I were among the first to sample the new fare at New Shoots Farm Store, Bakery & Caf. The combination of new food and new surroundings can be surmised in one word: Inspiring!
So much work has been done on the former McNally's Bake Shop that it takes a minute to orientate your self. Where the entrance used to be, there is now a bank of windows-harking back to the building's original plan--flooding a raised stage area with natural light. The walls are a combination of old brick and polished new panels of tone on tone gray. The floors are original wood, and the tables and benches are timbers harvested from rafters on the top floor.
Rooster and hen artwork, mismatched chairs (like you might find around Grandma's kitchen table), and unique touches like the Ball canning jar lamps in the restrooms all lend a bit of whimsy.
It's country, but it's classy.
As for the food-the reason you frequent any restaurant or bakery-I loved it. I enjoyed the "build-your-own" burger featuring Soper Farms' grass fed beef, raised just a few miles north of town. The patty was tender, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. Topping options ranged from garlic aioli (a garlicky mayo) and organic greens to cheddar cheese and crisp bacon. The bun, baked in the New Shoots bakery, was croissant-like. As my dining companion said, "I could eat just the bun and nothing else."
And vouching for the quality of the baked goods, I had the good fortune to sample one of the first batches of croissants to come out of the oven last week. I chose a small pain au chocolat (dark chocolate filled croissant). My, was it good!
During our meal, I saw tables of other lucky diners sampling the vegetable Panini, chicken salad on croissant, and Reuben sandwich. I also saw a broccoli cheese soup on the menu, but there's only so much a belly can hold at one time.
With New Shoots' grand opening scheduled for Thursday, March 1, it won't be long before everyone will get to play the guinea pig. My hope is that Emmetsburg and the surrounding area will welcome this new business with open arms. Try something new (although a few old favorites may make an appearance, too). My guess is that you won't be disappointed. You might even be inspired to re-invent your own piece of this town, too.