Every morning, cafe owner Sarah Eash’s day begins before 4:30. She rises and heads to the corner of N Main and E Chestnut Streets in Mount Vernon to bake pastries, prepare salads and mix dressings for her new business, North Main Cafe. From the shop’s raised patio, patrons can see the Mount Vernon Public Square, nearby businesses and the local YMCA. The smell of fresh coffee fills the air.
North Main Cafe opened this past August, two years after sisters in-law Sarah Eash and Rachel Miller purchased the building. They envisioned “a small and unique space in Mount Vernon” for the cafe. The business has been a family endeavor from the outset; the sisters in-law drew up plans themselves with their husbands — LaVerne Eash and Nate Miller — and built a business on the principles of handmade materials. Eash said she makes all dressings and soups from scratch and fresh-brews the coffee. What really sets them apart, she said, is the cafe’s environment. “It’s warm and we hope our customers become our friends and feel blessed — that’s our goal and mission here.”
Eash and her husband grew up Amish but now affiliate with the Mennonite church. Her brother and her sister-in-law are Baptist. Though art on the walls features religious sayings and some employees wear prayer coverings on their heads, the business itself is not overtly religiously affiliated. In the future, she hopes to employ students from Mount Vernon Nazarene University so the cafe remains connected to the community.
In order to enter the cafe, customers ascend a wooden ramp up to the patio and can order just inside the doors.
Julia Cullen ’21 tried the cafe a few weeks ago after visiting the Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market. “I ordered a smoothie with a friend and had a great time working on the patio,” she said. Many customers last Wednesday morning enjoyed the homemade food while working on laptops or conversing with friends and children.
This Collegian reporter enjoyed the smooth, cheesy grits and flaky buttered biscuits while a friend ate a slice of toast heaped with avocados—one of the most popular items on the menu.
The Eash family’s goal of creating a community space is already becoming a reality; a group of mothers and children thanked the cashiers emphatically and promised to return the next day, some addressing the employees by name.
So far, the business has been a success. Eash expressed gratitude and attributes her success to the glory of God as well as the people in Mount Vernon.
North Main Cafe is located at 108 N Main St. in Mount Vernon and is open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Carryout and a second register will be in operation by the end of October with a catering menu to follow and, potentially, later hours.