This story was featured in the Nov. 15 print edition of CityBeat.
A new restaurant, Feel Good Food Stop, opened in Newtown in the spring of this year, offering nutritious breakfast and lunch options alongside some familiar pastries from Fork and Pie Bakery. Melissa and Eric Chan teamed up with Fork and Pie Bakery owner Stevie Rufener to open this new, fresh concept in the bakery’s former retail location. “It was created as a result of a partnership of the existing bakery,” explains owner Melissa how Feel Good Food Stop came to be.
Working in the food industry is familiar to Melissa, who says she started when she was 12 years old. Raised in Milford, she attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management. She remained in Columbus for 12 years after graduating until a family emergency brought her back to Cincinnati, where she met her husband. In December 2022, the opportunity arose to partner with Fork and Pie Bakery and open a new restaurant concept, and she took it, with Feel Good Food Stop opening on April 3, 2023.
From the beginning, Melissa wanted to ensure that the location offered healthy food options and a cozy, positive and welcoming atmosphere. For Melissa, feeling good is an experience she strives to provide through her physical location and food. “It’s certainly about the food, but also the atmosphere, the energy,” she said. When you enter, a sign reads “Come as you are,” whether human or dog. “We are dog friendly,” Melissa said. “Why? Because dogs make you feel good.”
At the Feel Good Food Stop, you’ll find a variety of breads, pastries and cakes, all provided by Fork and Pie Bakery, including quiches, tarts and gluten-free breads. Melissa explained that Rufener’s son is gluten intolerant, so she has become proficient and well-known for making delicious breads and pastries that most people don’t even know are gluten-free. “We’ve really become a purveyor of gluten-free items, and I really encourage that,” Melissa said.
The restaurant also offers a full breakfast and lunch menu prepared by Melissa, with everything from breakfast quesadillas and avocado toast to acai bowls and chicken and biscuits. “Through food, we want to nourish the mind, body and spirit,” explains Melissa.
Melissa strives to use organic and seasonal ingredients, working closely with local farmers. She also grows a variety of herbs, including rosemary, lemongrass and basil, as well as peppers and tomatoes in her on-site garden. These homemade ingredients are used in her recipes, including the homemade pesto and salsa. In the spring and summer, she sources most of the produce from her best friend’s farm outside of Columbus, Little Thyme Farms, which also provides lettuce, onions and garlic for the restaurant.
While the menu will retain some staples, Melissa plans to tweak some options, such as salads, baked goods and wraps, to include more seasonal produce and goods. “We just stick with the seasons,” she said.
Running the restaurant is a family affair, Melissa explains. “My children help me; they were picking tomatoes and herbs yesterday,” she said. “My husband does the landscaping and my dad goes around local businesses.” Because it’s a small, family-run business, many menu items are first-come, first-served, often with cinnamon rolls flying off the shelves. “As a business owner, it’s hard to see the disappointment on someone’s face when we run out of cinnamon rolls,” says Melissa, who tries to stock up on as many as she can but often runs out of this sweet favorite due to high demand.
Since opening in the spring, Melissa has enjoyed meeting customers, many of whom have now become regulars. She said it has been a positive experience to partner with Fork and Pie Bakery and provide the neighborhood with a fun and positive place to dine. “It’s been wonderful for the neighborhood and the community,” she said. “They didn’t have anything that was your typical breakfast at this quality, and we were able to offer that. That was the wave we’re riding right now.”
The location has indoor and outdoor seating to dine in and also offers takeout service. In keeping with Melissa’s mission to create a positive experience, she made sure to have puzzles and games available to help keep kids occupied while their parents ordered.
With advance notice, they also offer catering options, including breakfast platters that can be made with pancakes, waffles or French toast and all the toppings. Melissa says they can also include homemade deviled eggs and breakfast meats.
“Stop by, eat well, feel good” is the restaurant’s motto, which Melissa tries to stay true to in everything they do. “Outstanding service is one of the things I talk about with the staff,” she said. “It’s the little things, but all those little things added together create the environment and the experience.”
Feel Good Food Stop, 6836 Main St., Newtown. Info: feelgoodfoodstop.com.
Subscribe to CityBeat newsletters.
Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS feed