The Family Pharm

I’d been in the building countless times. I mean, I grew up around here, so of course I’d stopped in fairly often in the late summer and early fall while walking around Downtown Cape, for an ice cream and a nice little stroll down memory lane. But these days there’s something very different about the little Soda & Ice Cream Shop in the ole’ Spanish Street Mercantile building.

Chalkboard with cut watermelons drawn on it behind table of wild flowers and dried herbs at Spanish Street Farmacy

I noticed the change before even crossing the street. Potted flowers and herbs graced the sidewalk along the large front window with a very inviting family sized wooden picnic table amongst them. Through the large glass door I could see a big chalkboard that had Spanish Street Farmacy written across it. What a clever name for such a fun little eatery! I looked down at the mat placed just outside the doors. It read “Welcome” and I believed it.

Happiness just seems to live here...

As I entered, a young couple held the door open for me as they were leaving with mounding colorful ice cream cones and broad smiles that were completely contagious. In fact, once I was inside I noticed everyone seemed to be infected. Happiness just seems to live here and spreads to everyone who comes through the doors creating one of the most light and pleasant atmospheres I’ve encountered so far during my adventures here in the 573.

My eyes darted around the room and I started to understand where some of this mood might have been created. Beautiful wild flower bouquets, bundles of drying herbs, and several rustic and intriguing antiques were everywhere I looked. Just like stepping back into the past, I was filled with nostalgia, wonderment, and a sense of peaceful calm I haven’t felt in years. Even the uniforms donned by the young staff and the music drifting through the air seemed to be in on the spell, sending me back to a time I never even had the good fortune to experience for myself live and in person...until now that is.

...Mercy Green!

Much to my surprise I was greeted at the counter by a sweetly familiar face...Mercy Green! Last time I saw Mercy, she couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, and she had come to offer her mother and I a piece of cornbread she had made from scratch from grains she harvested and ground herself during one of our social visits. Now here she was, all grown up and running the front of this lovely shop, taking down orders from customers while her brother, Titus whipped up a couple milk shakes right behind her.

Absolutely adorable and thoroughly impressive, Mercy has really only changed in height, but wow what a change, has it really been that long? Seeing both of them here it was pretty safe to assume that this was now A Green Family establishment, but I had to find out for sure!

“Oh my goodness! What are you doing here?!” I exclaimed. “Are your parents the new owners?”

A true old fashioned market...

“Yeah. They bought it last November.” As Titus dug out more ice cream for another milkshake, Mercy gave me the scoop on the shop. A farm to table restaurant and market, all of the meats, produce, and other ingredients are sourced locally from the Mennonite Farmers Market, Lick Creek Farms, and some of the surrounding area farmers and riverfront markets. A true old fashioned market themselves, they stock fresh produce, herbs, canned goods (in old fashioned glass mason jars), and honey all grown, raised, harvested, and preserved organically and locally.

I glanced over at the display cases and counters as another customer approached ready to order. That’s when I noticed the fresh baked goods. Blueberry Bundt cake, Zucchini Black Walnut Cake, a picture perfect Blackberry Pie, and…

“Coconut Cream Pie please.” I heard the woman behind me tell Mercy, “One piece for here, and another to go.”

'Man, I hope I get to try that before it’s gone!' I thought to myself.

Too late! By the time that thought had passed the two ladies behind her asked for the last 2 pieces. It must be amazing because it seems to be in high demand! I’ll definitely have to come back to try it out. But there’s no time to mourn the creamy coconuty goodness now, already the first dish was coming out!

A loaded homemade bun spilling over with fresh green leafy romaine lettuce, a black bean patty and melty pepper jack cheese all drizzled with a subtly sweet yet savory aioli sauce with Roasted Potato Fries and homemade ketchup, the Black Bean Cheeseburger was quite the picturesque meal. Filling and satisfying with a tasty sneaky heat that warms your whole body long after the bite has dissolved, it took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to notice that there was no meat on this sandwich. That’s right, the Black Bean Cheeseburger is a vegetarian sandwich with the “burger” being made completely out of black beans, crushed, seasoned, and grilled to be a new and healthy plant-based alternative to the classic cheeseburger.

...yes, carrots on pizza...

Next up was another table favorite. I’ve seen a lot of pizzas in my time, but this one was definitely a first for me. Hand-tossed homemade crust, topped with a homemade sauce, locally sourced sausage, Amish mozzarella cheese, and Giardianera (Italian pickled vegetables including onions, peppers, zucchini, and carrots...yes, carrots on pizza, and it’s pretty darn good!). Garnished with large fresh leaves of Genovese Basil, this pizza was just as beautiful as it was tasty! The blend of flavorings were exciting, and had all of us reaching for more.