The Good Food Low Carb Cafe on Cottage Grove Road, an offshoot of the two popular Good Food carts -- one on the Capitol Square, the other on Library Mall -- will open Monday, right on schedule.
It's been a little stressful getting ready to open, but besides being shipped an oven that didn't work, everything has gone smoothly, said Melanie Nelson, who is opening the restaurant with her fiancé, Kory Seder. The couple plan to marry in May.
The cafe's menu will be similar to the carts, but not identical. It will offer salads, wraps, lettuce tacos, homemade soups and hot "zoodle" bowls, where the "zoodles" will be made from spiraled vegetables, such as zucchini, summer squash and carrots.
Appetizers will include pasture-raised chicken wings from Nami Moon Farms in Custer; Asian meatballs; bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers; and something Nelson is calling Fathead flatbread, made with a gluten-free, grain-free pizza crust. Versions will include margherita, buffalo chicken and blue cheese, and Greek.
"We are embracing the healthy fats here and getting rid of the grains in our flatbread crust," she said.
The cafe will offer a couple dessert options, coffee from Just Coffee, and cold drinks.
Heritage Bakery Cafe at the same location, 4674 Cottage Grove Road, closed last September, the victim of road construction and the big Metro Market grocery store that went in nearby.
Nelson said she's not too worried about the somewhat under-the-radar location.
"It is a little bit hidden," she said, noting that the cafe's signage is not real visible from the road. "I know a lot of people are excited for us to open so I'm hoping we will drive some traffic despite the location, but we're going to have to wait and see how it goes."
Heritage made it six years, Nelson said, pointing out that the former bakery and cafe was crushed by the major construction on Cottage Grove Road last year. "That really hurt them. That's over now, so I'm hoping it will be OK. We'll have to wait and see."
Nelson was using a commercial kitchen on the West Side to prepare food for the carts and for catering. But now that work is taking place in the new cafe.
The Good Food Low Carb Cafe will mainly be a lunch and dinner spot, open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. It will also be open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The cafe won't be entirely gluten-free as originally planned. They are keeping the wheat tortillas for the wraps which are a popular option at the carts.
The Good Food cart on the Capitol Square has routinely come in on top of the city's annual food cart review, and in 2016 and 2014 it was No. 1.