Chief cook and owner Elizabeth English aims to serve high quality foods from whole, local ingredients. At From Scratch, virtually everything is made from scratch, even the bread.
The mainstays of Sunday breakfast include pancakes made from a sour-dough process. Seasonal pancakes are also available; recent special offerings were pumpkin pancakes and eggnog pancakes. Diners can choose to build their own breakfast by choosing from eggs, pancakes, meat, fruit, quinoa or potatoes. There are also specials of the day, often egg-based creations or recently, biscuits and gravy. Customers can order a Mimosa or Bellini from Bliss to complement breakfast.
English serves organic, locally-sourced food as much as possible. Her sources include Sandhill Organics in Grayslake for vegetables, Zinniker Farm in East Troy, WI for farm-fresh eggs, and meat farmers Steve Lawless in Viroqua, WI, and Nick Wallace from Iowa. English fills out her ingredient list with items from Trader Joes in Lake Zurich and Door to Door Organics.
Wednesday night dinners at From Scratch Café are always interesting and change from week to week. English offers three meals to choose from. A recent menu included Shrimp and Scallop Bisque, Chicken Cacciatore and Ham-a-lam-Ding-Dong—a smoked ham with cranberry sauce and scalloped potatoes. Dinners are usually $10. From Scratch also offers dessert, perhaps a blueberry or apple crisp with ice cream for $4. Diners can relax while listening to acoustic music and glasses of wine are available from Bliss.
For English, the café is a part-time venture. Her full-time work is as music and orchestra teacher at Da Vinci Waldorf School in Wauconda.
English has always loved to cook and is especially concerned with nutrition and health, but From Scratch Café didn’t actually start out as a dream to have a restaurant. English originally started thinking about a sustainable restaurant as a hands-on learning experience for her class at Da Vinci Waldorf School. Teaching assignments changed and that dream didn’t come to fruition, but English decided to start a café anyway.
“Two days works really well. I enjoy people and I have devout regulars,” she said.
From Scratch will celebrate its one-year anniversary in January. English said she’s especially thankful to Bliss owner Maria Weisbruch for providing a home for the café.
“I think Maria Weisbruch is an incredible business woman; She’s an incredible community member and a wonderful person. It’s a match made in heaven. Who doesn’t like wine and dinner?” English said.
English also combines her teaching and cooking skills into once-a-month cooking classes, which fill up quickly. Cooking school in January will focus on soup stock and bread.
For more information on From Scratch Café and a glimpse at past and future menus, check out the From Scratch Cafe Facebook page.