The Wild Rabbit Café buys all local produce to create fresh meals that boost the local economy.
Located in the heart of the Fitness One Gym, on Old Kings Road, is a thriving new restaurant that prides itself in providing the community with an extensive menu featuring meals made with fresh, locally grown ingredients. The Wild Rabbit Café & Health Bar is locally owned and operated by Laura and Steve Hannan. The café recently opened in early October of 2015.
The specialty restaurant is the only one of its kind for miles. Its extensive menu offers vegan, gluten-free, organic and lactose-free snacks and dinner entrees.
“Create the change you want to see. We need to create the market.”
LAURA HANNAN, owner of the Wild Rabbit Café & Health Bar
The Hannans buys all of the café’s produce from local famers in an effort to fuel the local economy.
“We are a plant based restaurant with a local minded focus,” Hannan said. “The community is built by you and me. Local residents have to put forth the effort to support each other, otherwise local chains will dominate, rather than small businesses run by the locals who care for each other. The trend starts with us, we are working to reinvest dollars in our own community’s economy.”
On average in the United States, up to 60-70% of revenue made by a locally owned business is recirculated back into the community, whereas a chain-restaurant may only recirculate 30%.
“At the Wild Rabbit Café we have a revenue recirculation rate as high as 60%. Much of that money is reinvested into portion size, workers pay and donations to support local events and therefore continue to build up Flagler County.”
Every week the café buys over 200 pounds of produce from local farmers.
“This past week, to name a few, we acquired 50 pounds of hydroponically grown tomatoes from Cheryl Anderson, who has a greenhouse in Bunnell and a bushel of oranges from a no-spray grove in San Mateo. In order to break the cycle we have to stop buying produce from contract growers.”
Hannan explained part of the reason restaurants and grocery stores resort to buying commercially grown produce is because farmers have not invested to grow in this region. Only a select few fruits and vegetables are grown in Florida, because the farmers have not previously had a solid market in this area.
“Create the change you want to see,” Hannan said. “We need to create the market. What I like about working with local farmers is that everyone has their own story,” Hannan reminisced. “They all weave together to make the fabric which is Flagler County.”
Hannan admits that buying from local growers is a method that is not always set in stone. If a grower experiences a bad week, and does not produce enough vegetables to supplement the Wild Rabbit Café, then Hannan explores other options.
“If a bad week comes we work with it,” Hannan said. “On occasion we will turn to a local business representative of a commercial farm to get our produce. In this way we are still supporting a Flagler County resident.”
The Wild Rabbit Café will be offering a cooking class at the café from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. Those who attend will get to eat the healthy meal that they make. Visit the Wild Rabbit Café & Health Bar Facebook page, or wildrabbictcafe.com for more information.