Diner: Heart and Soul

Wildflour Bakery incorporates fresh ingredients with fresh outdoors

I knew from the moment I called to get directions to the Wildflour Bakery that I was going to like the place. The gentleman who answered my call proudly told me the establishment's hours, location, even the best place to find a parking space. He suggested if I was coming for the first time, to try one of their fresh salads or come for their "killer" Sunday brunch. I thought if I just could keep him on the line a little while longer, I could write enough about this place without even making the trip across the river after all. Good thing for me, he cut the call short.

Had we not known the address, my two lunch companions and I would have missed the place. The bakery/eatery is tucked into a historic row house in Covington with not more than a homemade, painted wooden sign and a couple of menus taped to the front gate to mark its location. On this cool summer afternoon, we chose to walk past the side entrance to the house, now the front entrance to the bakery and dining room, to a lovely outdoor patio, where we grabbed the last available table.

The other six or so patio tables were filled with mostly corporate lunch-types from some of the area's businesses. The inside dining room soon filled up, as well.

It seemed to me that this was another well-kept secret, enjoyed mostly by the local business folks for a quick and healthy lunch.

However, the first few whiffs of fresh-baked bread as we passed the kitchen on the way to the patio told us this was no ordinary business lunch establishment. A quick glance at the menu confirmed our suspicions, and our friendly servers (who later identified themselves as the owners) made us feel relaxed and welcome.

The menu is a vegetarian's dream with a healthy selection of salads and pita sandwiches, homemade soups served in fresh bread bowls, and flatbread pizzas. In fact, the only meat I saw on the menu was crumbled bacon on the generous spinach salad (with blue cheese and egg, $5.25) or the grilled chicken served atop the white flatbread pizza (also with olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, parmesan and fresh basil; $4.25 half; $7.95, whole).

One of my lunch guests was thrilled with the spinach salad and the two homemade salad dressings she sampled (citrus balsamic and honey Dijon.) I was equally pleased with my white chicken pizza (one half portion was plenty for me), a nice mix of smoky chicken, garlic and fresh basil on a delicious, chewy, light flatbread. I also had a small house salad with sundried tomato vinaigrette dressing that was very flavorful; I was hoping to find a bottle of it for sale inside the bakery (but unfortunately, did not!).

Between the three of us, we also devoured a bread bowl full of Gazpacho ($3) and the soup of the day, broccoli cheese ($3), both of which were delicious and fresh, but not too filling. Other lunch selections included items which could be ordered as either a stuffed pita or atop mixed greens as a salad, such as mixed vegetable (cucumber, sprouts, red onion, lettuce, roma tomatoes, carrots and feta; $5.25) and Tuna (with carrots, celery, green onions, chipolte peppers and golden raisins; $5.50). And, although we didn't get the chance to sample it this trip, the menu also featured the humus of the week, served with eggplant tapenade and fresh pitas ($3.75.)

Because we had heard such wonderful things about the Sunday brunch, we asked our server to tell us more. The descriptions of the shrimp and wild mushroom crêpes with lobster ($11.50) and fruit crêpes with fresh ricotta and cream cheese, mango, papaya, banana and seasonal fruit ($9.50) gave us one more reason to look forward to the weekend.

After finishing our meal with one of the best brownies I've ever had ($1.25), one of the three owners proudly showed us the staircase leading to a second floor dining room, opening soon to accommodate a dinner crowd. He told us the menu would feature tapas-style dining with a few seasonal, light entrées including some seafood selections. I knew then he must have been the gentleman on the phone, because the heart and soul he was putting into his work was clearly reflected in the eatery's menu and atmosphere.

Since the seating is so limited, I wouldn't mind keeping this place a secret. Go ahead and try some of their fresh-baked goods to go, such as scones, bagels, breads, muffins, sticky buns or cookies. Just leave me the barnwood table on the patio this Sunday for brunch. ©

Go: 308 Greenup St. Covington

Call: 581-1000

Hours: 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday (with lunch served from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.); 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. "Killer" brunch: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday (lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.).

Prices: Inexpensive to Reasonable.

Payment: Checks accepted, credit cards are not.

Vegetarian Friendliness: Almost all dishes suited to vegetarians.

Note: Carryout available.

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