GREENWOOD - Few things make Fresh From The Oven co-owners Dan Crouchman and Elizabeth Stevens happier than creating delectable dishes that bring back memories, like the time Crouchman made Hello Dollies.
“The fun part in this whole journey is listening to the stories,” said Stevens.
“I hear every single day the old-fashioned baking brings back memories.”
The duo hosted a grand opening event in the Greenwood-based eatery, formally dubbed Fresh From The Oven/ Bakery N More, June 17. The business has been accumulating glowing reviews on its Facebook page since opening at 678 Central Avenue about a month ago.
“Liz and I go to the tables. We greet our everyone like family. We treat our customers like family,” said Crouchman, Stevens’ son-in-law.
“I don’t want this place to feel like a restaurant. I want it to feel like a home,” adds Stevens.
Several community groups have started making weekly reservations, telling the new businessowners they’re on the right path with the downhome, country feel they set out to achieve.
“Our passion is with the seniors… that is who has actually put us on this journey,” said Stevens, who has a background in health care, banking and management.
Crouchman, a Meadowvale resident, is drawing on his experience in the food industry to create homemade treats that take his customers back in time. Some fan-favourites thus far have been molasses cookies, gingersnaps, date squares, tarts, pies, scones, biscuits.
“They’re looking for those old-time treats that they used to make for their kids, their grandkids that, because of arthritis, diabetes and things like that, they can’t do anymore,” the father of three said.
While they have a soft spot for traditional treats, that doesn’t stifle their creativity. They regularly challenge each other to think outside the box and try new things, be it with sweet treats or breakfast, lunch and weekend supper specials.
“You just pour you heart and soul into everything you make and you’d be surprise what you come out with,” said Crouchman.
They’ll also use their spacious location, a renovated building that last housed GoWingNutz restaurant, to regularly host Natasha Moustasha Paint Parties, showcase local art that’s for sale and celebrate themed occasions that allow Stevens to share her love of decorating with customers.
Crouchman is known for making top-notch gourmet cheesecakes and Stevens loves getting creative in the kitchen. Her cake pops, for example, regularly sell out and she’s learned how to make cold brew coffee. Her passion, however, lies in making preserves.
The Melvern Square resident hopes Fresh From The Oven will earn a reputation as a place where customers can gather and feel like family.
It is, after all, family that brought both Stevens and Crouchman to this point in their lives. Stevens moved out west for 20 years and originally returned to the area be close to her late mother-in-law, the inspiration behind her love of working in the kitchen. Crouchman started dating Stevens’ daughter three years ago and they quickly became a tight-knit family.
Beyond offering quality home-cooked meals and fresh baked goods, the goal is to build a sustainable business that will be a steady source of employment within the area for years to come. Stevens stressed that Fresh From The Oven is a six-employee operation, including her daughters and two other workers, and every single staff member is contributing to its success.
“I don’t want my kids to have to move away to someplace else to find a job when we can keep them here close to us,” she said.
“When you have such passion for what you do… we get up some mornings and it’s like Christmas morning,” added Crouchman.
“Every day is a new day.”
Hours of operation:
Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday to Sunday, 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.