From the garden to Eden


Liz Spencer/The Chart

Turning Challah bread in the oven, Bethany Lewis, owner of Eden’s Bakery, bakes the sweet rich egg bread for Rosh Hashanah. The traditional bread was baked for the Jewish New Year. The round loaves symbolize the cycle of the year and are sweet to honor a sweet new year.

The Eden Bakery & Café in Webb City hasn’t even been open a year but it’s already changing the way people in the area view food.  

Owner Bethany Lewis opened her all-organic and made-from-scratch restaurant last November and said, “Ever since we opened we’ve been growing every month, and we rely on word of mouth mostly.”

Lewis opened her restaurant as a means to help working families have healthier, organic options that they may not have the time to prepare themselves, she said.  

The Eden Bakery & Café evolved out of a stand Lewis started at the farmer’s markets in 2008, when she moved from Vancouver, Wash., to Joplin with her husband. The stand started out with smoothies made with 100 percent organic fruit and no added sugars.

Over the years it grew to include lemonades, organic and fair-trade teas, sandwiches, wraps and salads, Lewis said.

 “People kept asking ‘do you have your own place,’ and said they would be interested in eating there so I just kind of looked around for different buildings until we found a good location,” she said.

Lewis, who grew up on a farm eating organic, from-scratch meals, has brought that piece of her childhood into her restaurant.

Everything used in the restaurant comes from either the farmer’s market, from employees’ gardens, local families or other local suppliers, making the business a collaborative community effort.  Even all of the art on the walls comes from local painter Alison Kolkebeck.  

In addition to the foods coming from local organic sources, almost everything on the menu is made from scratch.

“We make all the breads for our sandwiches from scratch.  We try to do as much from scratch as possible,” she said.  

“Most of our dressings we make in house, our soups, our tortillas as well because I’m really particular about what goes into things. It tastes better if it’s from scratch, and also it’s good to avoid all those preservatives and additives.”

Lewis also said that her business uses completely biodegradable products, including corn plastic and PLA plastic containers.

Despite growing popularity nationwide in organic eating and increasing environmental consciousness, Lewis said that she’s noticed people who are turned off by the idea of eating organic food.

“I had a customer say, ‘Can you just leave the organic out of my sandwich?’” she said.  “He must not know what organic means.  It just means it’s grown without chemicals.  Do you really want chemicals in your food?

“A lot of people in the area are like, ‘This doesn’t sound very appetizing,’ and then they try it and they’re like, ‘Wow, this is really good, I didn’t realize it tasted good since it’s from scratch.”

The Eden Bakery & Café is located at 33 S. Main in Webb City.  The bakery also still has its roots down at the Webb City Farmer’s Market, selling baked goods there on Tuesdays and Fridays.