Green family offers healthy, locally grown food in Cape
These days restaurants are justifiably proud to offer menu items that are made from scratch. At Spanish Street Farmacy in Cape Girardeau, the owners take the concept a big step further. Not only is everything on the menu made on location, the owners, Sharla and Lance Green and their family of 10 kids, usually can tell you the name of the grower who produced it.
Take the tasty cheeseburger on the menu. It’s made from grass-fed beef raised on a farm across the river in Anna, Illinois, just 25 minutes away. The burger is topped with cheese from an Amish dairy. The whole-wheat sesame seed bun is made on-site with organic flour sourced from Janie’s Mill in Ashkum, Illinois. The lettuce is grown in the Green family’s garden in Patton year round. And the tomato — an heirloom variety — comes from Mennonite farmers in Fredericktown. Even the ketchup and mayonnaise are made from scratch, the latter using eggs from pastured chickens.
“We really have a passion to try and support the local farmers,” Lance says. “It’s very difficult to make a living in the country. And I think there’s a lot of different folks that are trying to make a go of farming. After spending 10 years in the farmers markets, we really got an up-close view of how fragile that whole system is. We wanted to provide another outlet. We really see good food raised right as a real opportunity to help people get healthier. So that’s what we do.”
That means rice is organically grown in Braggadocio, carrots come from Piedmont and the elderberries used in tonics from Columbia. “One farm couldn’t do it all,” Lance says. “So it’s really great that in the 10 years we were in the farmers markets we built some great relationships.”
Spanish Street Farmacy got its start in 2018 when the Greens, members of Black River Electric Cooperative, approached Charlie Bertrand, who owns Spanish Street Mercantile and ran an ice cream shop where the Farmacy is now located. The former hardware store came with the tin ceiling and antique furnishings of a 1930s art deco soda fountain.
“We had been friends for several years before, then we approached him about renting his ice cream shop and ‘taking it to another level’ in his words,” Lance says. “He rented it to us and we started as an ice cream shop, then grew quickly into a farm-to-fork restaurant.”
As if that wasn’t enough, the business recently expanded into a fresh market where the same locally produced foods can be purchased. These include fresh vegetables, local meat, dry goods, artisanal bread made on-site and dairy products from grass-fed cows.
The offerings at the diner loosely fall into three categories: healthy eats, drinks and treats.
The healthy eats start with breakfast, where omelets are the star. You can build your own or opt for the Country Omelete which features whole pastured eggs, homemade sausage gravy, bacon, grilled onions and cheese. If you want lighter fare, go for the Veggie Omelete made with egg whites, fresh vegetables, greens and herbs.
“With the pasture-raised eggs, you can see a difference,” Lance says. “The yolks are bright yellow.”
Belgian waffles, made with organic whole-wheat flour and served with real maple syrup, are another popular morning option. The Blueberry Waffle features local blueberries and pecans and is topped with a scoop of the family’s ice cream. There’s also a Dark Chocolate Orange Waffle made with orange slices and cacao nibs covered with chocolate sauce and served with homemade ice cream. Blurring the line between meals is the Grilled Chicken and Waffle, pastured chicken with Asian-honey barbeque sauce and shredded coconut on a whole-wheat waffle.
Burgers shine for the lunch crowd. While they all start with one-third pound of locally raised, grass-fed beef and a homemade whole-wheat bun, what goes on top is what really sets these burgers apart from those served at other diners. The Barnyard, for example, is topped with bacon made from the Green family’s heritage hogs and an egg with the bright orange-yellow yoke only found from pastured chickens. The Field and Forest is topped with local mushrooms and a slice of Amish-made cheese.
For the truly adventurous consider the Orange Habanero Chicken sandwich. To their locally raised chicken, the Greens add an orange-habanero sauce, ginger peanut paste and toasted sesame seeds. Another unusual menu item is the Zucchini Chickpea. The namesake veggies are combined with onions, rainbow slaw and whipped goat cheese held together by eggs.
Daily Blue-Plate Specials add to the fun of visiting the unusual eatery. These range from meatloaf on Tuesday, a vegetarian dish on Wednesday, chicken on Thursday, fish on Friday and pasta Saturday. These might include a vegetarian Coconut Curry, Middle Eastern Style Chicken with chickpeas and fresh arugula or Baked Silverfin (Asian carp) croquettes with sour cream chive dip.
Check their Facebook page for details and for other seasonal offerings, including unusual soups.
When it comes to drinks, you won’t find the sugary Coke or Pepsi products. Like an old-fashioned drug store, the Farmacy makes their own “jerked” sodas and tonics with fruit, teas, ice cream, seltzer, roots and herbs, such as the homemade root beer, cream soda, black cherry cola, citrus soda or ginger and turmeric tonic.
A coffee bar offers hot and cold drinks made from French-pressed coffee that is roasted and ground fresh in house. Order a hot cocoa and it will be made with chocolate from Springfield’s Askinosie Chocolate.
Then there are the treats for those with room still left after their meal or just want something sweet after exploring Cape’s riverfront. The ice cream — whether served in a bowl, made into a float with an herbal soda or churned into a milkshake — is all homemade, using locally sourced ingredients from Amish and Mennonite communities.
Whatever brings you in, you will leave with a food experience that’s been missing for generations.
“If you are used to McDonald’s you may be a little bit disappointed,” Lance says of the dining experience at the Farmacy. “It’s not like that. But if they are looking for something a little bit different, something maybe a little more rustic or a taste of home even — that’s what we are all about.”