NEWBURGH, Ind. – Diners who love vegetarian, vegan and delicious food: The cafe-bar inside Cycling Solutions in Newburgh has turned into a full cafe called La Forêt. The name means “the forest” in French and, as it should be, the food you find here is fresh and natural.
Owners Rachael and Ben Moll are the perfect pair to run a healthy and vegetarian cafe, cafe and bike shop combo.
Ben Moll is a bicycle mechanic and owned a mobile bicycle business which he operated from a pickup truck. When the space got too big, the couple rented out the area housing the Cycling Solutions portion of the business in May of last year.
With biking being a somewhat seasonal activity, the couple began to think about ways to bring in customers regularly, and Rachael had the right skills.
“I’ve been in the food service business since I was 17,” she said. “My first job was at a little cafe called The Perfect Cup in the old farmer’s market building on First Avenue.”
She loved working with coffee and food, so she took cooking classes at Ivy Tech, then learned even more as a cook at the Commonwealth Kitchen and Bar in Henderson.
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It will go down in the books as my favorite work, except here where I can call it mine, ”she said. “We had a dream team and we learned a lot. So much has been made from scratch – all the sauces and dressings.
A coffee bar with coffee from the Evansville Coffee Company and some light pastries was a natural choice. It started with pots of brewed coffee and a French press; when customers from a national coffee chain started coming in to support a local store, the Molls invested in an espresso machine, and that was about as much as the small bike space could handle.
But soon enough, this company also exceeded its space. Local businesses were asking for platters of muffins and cereal with coffee. Rachael had a wealth of culinary and pastry knowledge that she could not put to use. And the adjacent shopping area had a door in between, water hookups, and a back room that could be turned into a kitchen. With a little renovation help from Ben’s dad, Mike Moll, it became La Forêt.
Now Rachael is making her own muffins and treats, and in stages the cafe has added breakfast items, to-go salads, and a small but varied lunch menu.
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“All food is vegan or vegetarian,” Rachael said. “The packaging is compostable, whether in paper or plastic. Even the salads and wraps in the case are in it. Everything is made in-house, with the exception of the packaged vegan cookies from Alternative Baking Company.
Coffee and smoothie drinkers can enhance their libations with organic whole cow’s milk, oat milk, sweet or unsweetened almond milk, or coconut milk.
Early in the day, the breakfast burrito is popular. It contains homemade fried potatoes, a veggie sausage crumble, sautéed onions and peppers, salsa and homemade avocado sauce. Diners can add eggs and cheese or vegan cheddar shreds and pickled tofu “bacon”.
Oatmeal is cooked with chia and flax seeds. Fresh berries and steamed milk of your choice can be added, and a pinch of homemade granola adds crunch.
No foodie, vegan or not, will love creamy cashew puree “queso” with spices such as chili and cumin. Think of a super rich and creamy southwest nut hummus served with tortilla chips. Regular chickpea hummus is also available. Specialty hummus is coming soon.
Another hit is the vegan chili.
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“Chili and cheese are a staple in my house,” Rachael said. “It’s something I absolutely wanted to have. It includes a meatless crumble, red beans and pinto, tomato and vegetable broth, spices and a few secret ingredients that we’ll tell you about if you come for a bowl. We complement it with grated vegan cheddar cheese.
The grilled cheese is toasted on Great Harvest sourdough bread with an avocado sauce and a hint of Sriracha sauce. Vegans can choose the Grated Vegan Grated Cheddar Cheese.
As the summer progresses, Rachael plans to add additional seasonal promotions.
If you are going to
La Forêt and Cycling Solutions are located at 7766 Fruitwood Lane in Newburgh
Note that the schedules of Cycling Solutions and La Forêt are different.
Opening hours of cycling solutions:
Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Saturday 8 am-4pm
Café La Forêt opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday 8 am-4pm
La Forêt and Cycling Solutions report that they are accessible to people with reduced mobility.