Franklin County is meat-and-potatoes country. But if you happen to be a vegetarian — or a whole-foods aficionado — your best option is tiny Foothills Bakery, located right across from the entrepreneurial Food Venture Center.
Pleasantly cluttered with homey décor, the restaurant has a lived-in vibe. Going there for a meal is like stopping in on friends.
Of course, not too many friends keep a stash of freshly made pastries. At Foothills, owner Amy Bell bakes up excellent chocolate-stuffed croissants, date bars, cookies and moist carrot cake with just the right amount of cream-cheese frosting. Can't decide? Get a bunch boxed up to go.
If you're dining in, check out the hanging chalkboard menu advertising sandwich stuffings and numerous soups du jour. The seasonal offerings range from creamy mushroom to chili, and most are meat-free. A rich bowl of cheesy cauliflower soup, studded with tender brassica chunks, is a perfect way to begin a meal.
To the right of the counter is a cooler stuffed with casseroles that can be reheated to order: Southwestern quiche, spinach-studded veggie lasagna and miniature flatbread pizzas, to name a few.
Sandwiches and salads aren't run of the mill here, either. Thickly sliced meats are baked in-house — the ham goes perfectly with a smear of bracing tarragon mustard. Crisp salads, with or without olives and pickled banana peppers, come with creative salad dressings. The lemon-chive version is a hit.
Foothills sells loaves of bread in various varieties, and a few other house faves — granola, hummus and spicy mustard — are proffered by the pound. In Franklin County, anyway, it makes sense to stock up.