On my quest to incorporate real food into my diet, I hit a roadblock. It wasn’t difficult for me to shop at our local farmer’s market and prepare fresh meals at my home. Sure, I’ve had my trials and tribulations learning skills in the kitchen, but the real issue involved dining out.
Luckily, with the local food movement growing in NE Ohio, some establishments are providing their customers with real and local options. One gem located on State Street in Cuyahoga Falls is The Blue Door Café. I was fortunate enough to talk with owner and pastry chef Michael Bruno about his popular restaurant.
NW: Why do think it is important to use local and seasonal ingredients in your restaurant?
MB: In a nutshell, I am kind of bluntly anti-corporate America. I believe it is wrong to do things just for the money and I’m not just doing this for the money.
It’s important, even more so, for meats. It’s really hard to find humanely raised livestock, so getting locally, I know where the stuff is coming from. You know, I went over to Brunty Farms when I wanted to order a turkey. I went there and saw the turkeys, they were still alive! With big business, it’s only for profit.
NW: Do you have any favorite producers in this area?
MB: Absolutely! I use Brunty Farms, another little farm is TLC farms, I use Breakneck Acres when I need flour, Sand Farm, Morning Side farm, Stutzman Farm, Snowville Creamery, Velvet View Farms, Hattie Larlham at Crown point…
The difficulty with using local is sometimes farms are short-staffed. It’s sometimes a 50/50 chance if they can bring it to me. For a restaurant it’s really difficult to get local products because of the logistics.
NW: What developments in the NE Ohio local food scene would you like to see happen?
MB: Vegetables are not a problem, we get a variety. Fruit is another story. And also organically grown fruits. It’s hard for us to get local fruit.
At the same time, we are also trying to get local beef. Pork is not so much of a problem, beef has been.
NW: Congratulations on reaching over 3,000 likes on Facebook! What do you think draws customers to your location?
MB: I think that it’s the combination of what were doing:
- Bakery and café together is something no one else does.
- Also trying to be religious about getting local stuff and pesticide free and/organic. We do pay attention to the quality aspect.
- I have a great staff. The other chefs are good and try to do their best.
Having a combination of those three things is key.
NW: What are you most excited about in the future of your business?
MB: We are always trying to move forward and adapt and change and grow. I’ve been talking to our CIA about getting one of their master chefs to come here and do a 2-day consulting program for the kitchen staff. We have talked about doing dinner service and have done one officially so far and that worked out real well.
I’m excited about getting different furniture, new lighting, new ceiling, and a new bathroom. It’s just we are not there yet.
We are moving forward and getting to the level I think the restaurant needs to be!
Many people feel they need to compromise health when it comes to dining out. This does not have to be the case. As the demand for local and real food increases, restaurants will have to evolve. If you have not had the pleasure to check out The Blue Door Café, I highly recommend it. There current hours are: Wed – Sun: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm at 1970 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223.
For more information on local food visit my website at www.nichewellness.com!