“The Bakery Is Back…and Much More”
The wait is finally over. New Shoots Farm Store, Bakery & Caf will officially open to the public on Thursday, Mar. 1.
Since closing for renovations in mid-September of 2011, contractors, their crews, and designers have been hard at work transforming the old McNally Bake Shop into New Shoots.
“The building had its own life for so long, and now it has a new life,” shared Harn Soper, President of Soper Farms. “It’s a rebirth, but there are still components that are its own.”
The building’s original brick walls and wood floors have been uncovered. Also original to the design of the building is the bank of windows facing Broadway. Tabletops and benches, as well as the rest room doors and vanities, have been recycled from ceiling rafters from the top floor of the building.
Designer Molly Spain is responsible for the space’s new persona, and New Shoots is all about the details. Take a look around. See the vintage linens and fresh cut flowers on the tables. Discover the Ball canning jar lamps in the rest rooms. Find the antique gardening tool that now serves as a handle on the sliding barn door, separating the bakery from the farm store. Comfortable old wooden chairs-mismatched like those you might find around Grandma’s kitchen table–provide seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Then there’s the artwork. Spain created the striking wood veneer chandeliers in the shape of blossoming flowers. There are paintings lending punches of color. And there are the fun, block print portraits of hens and roosters, reminiscent of 19th Century French restaurant posters. The chicken images–repeated throughout the business-are the work of California artist, Rigel Stuhmiller.
Stuhmiller’s chickens show up on stationary available for purchase on the farm store side of the business. The farm store, managed by Kim Mammen, will also carry many locally produced items like handmade soaps, Iowa wines and beer, honey and cheeses, cookbooks, various gift items, and, of course, Soper Farm’s own seasonal produce. Rotisserie chickens-cooked to perfection in the New Shoots kitchen-will be available to go.
Saxton’s Greenhouse, Flowers & Gifts will even have a kiosk inside the farm store to sell their floral arrangements.
“One of our slogans is ‘The bakery is back, and much more’,” said Soper.
Baker Jonathan Ulrich will create treats like artisan breads, croissants, muffins, and tarts.
“We’ll keep a few of the old baked goods, but we’re adding so much more,” Soper noted.
On the savory side, Chef Denise Moranville will take charge of the caf.
“Denise is in a unique situation as a chef,” said Soper. “Not many chefs have their own herd of cattle.”
Soper refers to the 112 head of pastured-raised Angus cattle that Soper Farms, north of Emmetsburg, is currently raising.
“Sixty-percent of the herd goes straight from the pasture to the store. The menu is vertically integrated from farm to fork,” he added.
Soper explained that the business’s goal is to use all of their own beef, chicken, and seasonal produce-all organically grown.
“If we don’t grow it, we’ll try and get it from an Iowa source,” said Soper. “A large portion of what’s on the menu is going to be grown right here in Iowa.”
A glimpse of that new menu was unveiled to invited guests last week to facilitate staff training and provide feedback. The preliminary lunch menu featured a “build your own burger,” chicken salad on croissant, Reuben sandwich, vegetable Panini, and broccoli cheese soup.
“The caf’s slogan is ‘Home cookin’ with a twist’,” Soper said. “The ‘twist’ is going to show up in the presentation of the ingredients.”
Breakfast and lunch will be served Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Patrons will order their meal at the counter and take a seat. Food will be delivered to the table.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, dinner will be served from 5 to 9 p.m. Guests will be invited to sit down and a server will take and deliver their orders.
Hours for Sunday’s brunch are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While the savory kitchen will only serve meals at specified times, New Shoots will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Guests can stop by and linger over a pastry and coffee.
Soper’s goal is to keep the kitchen and bakery busy during the day, serving customers who come in to New Shoots. The evening hours will be dedicated to the value-added products like potpies.
“I want New Shoots to be a destination. We hope to bring in folks from throughout the region,” Soper concluded. “It’s a kind of ‘back to the future.’ We’re promoting an eating style that people have forgotten, but we’re going to help them remember.”