COVINGTON, Ky. -- On a bustling stretch of Main Street in MainStrasse Village, clean-living café Son & Soil has been open for only a month and has already started to impact people’s appetites.
Husband-and-wife duo Stephen and Jessica Williams own and run the daytime eatery. They also own the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant Bouquet a mere block away.
The idea to open Son & Soil came to Jessica Williams six months ago, soon after former tenant Cake Rack Bakery moved to Findlay Market.
“Stephen and I had always wanted to do something healthy, quick,” she said. “We always thought the street really needed something like that. So when this space became available, I was talking to somebody, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’d be perfect,’ just joking around. And the owners actually came down to Bouquet and approached us about opening a space.”
It took Stephen and a contractor only three months to refurbish the space, and the eatery opened in mid-September.
Sunshine spills through the windows onto the 12-seat dining area, lighting up the décor of teal upholstered church pews, plants on windowsills, paintings of carrots and beets by Stephen's cousin Liesl Long, and exposed brick peeking through the painted walls.
The L-shaped bar is where smoothies and sandwiches are made, and so far both have been big hits. Jessica says the spicy club – turkey, avocado mousse, burnt carrot, arugula and mornay sauce on Sixteen Bricks rye bread – provides 30 percent of Son & Soil's sales, and their cold-pressed juices have been so successful they upgraded to an industrial-size juicer to make juicing more efficient.
“Every day we’re changing something,” Jessica said. “Every day, we’ll make this smoothie and we’re like, ‘Today is the best day.’ And the next day we’ll tweak something on it: ‘Today is the best day.’”
The juices and smoothies aren’t run-of-the-mill Jamba Juices, either.
“At first I was concerned (customers) would be, like, ‘These smoothies aren’t made with frozen yogurt, this doesn’t taste like artificial mango.’ But people have been really into it, and they’re loving the healthy aspect of it,” Jessica said. “I think that’s the biggest thing: People want to know where their food comes from. I love that question. I think people are really starting to understand that what they put into their body affects every bit of their being.”
Health-conscious customers can pick from 2-ounce shots, 8-ounce or 16-ounce juices ($2-$8). So Fresh & So Green is made with cucumber, spinach, celery, apple and grapefruit.
A shot of the remedy – ginger, turmeric, lemon, cayenne and local honey – will jolt you wide awake. Son & Soil also makes five types of smoothies ($7 each), including the Elvis (cacao, banana, peanut butter, almond milk and an option to add espresso) and the Kentucky Roots (beets, apples, and orange and carrot juices). The eatery also serves Cincinnati’s Lookout Joe coffee in latte and cold brew forms.
As for non-liquid food, Son & Soil offers the aforementioned spicy club (all sandwiches are $8), a ham and jam (cottage ham, peach jam, arugula and mornay sauce on rye bread), a veggie wrap, salads, a side of orzo mixed with grapefruit and walnuts, muffins and a Healthy Bar (chia seeds, golden raisins, dried apricots, flax seeds, almonds and pecans). The Williamses hope to add soups and jarred provisions to the menu in the near future.
Just as Bouquet sources most of its food from local farms, so does Son & Soil. It sells Carriage House Farm’s wildflower honey and also works with Greensleeves Farm and Mecklenburg Farms. Son & Soil also is a green restaurant, recycling and composting as much of its food and containers as possible, and all of its packaging is biodegradable.
Working two jobs might appear challenging for the Williamses, especially since they’re also raising 10-month-old "restaurant kid" Findlay (the name of the café references Findlay), but they’re able to float between businesses, and they live in between the restaurants.
“We were talking to somebody the other day about this: ‘How do you do this?’ " Jessica said. "We’re happy and we love what we do.
“I’m really pleased with how it’s taken off and how people are into what we’re doing. I would like to expand a little bit more on what we’re doing here, and hopefully people will keep liking it.”
Son & Soil
Where: 627 Main St., Covington
Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Information: 859-360-6268; facebook.com/SonandSoil