Marietta College students will notice several new downtown businesses this fall, where the options for a meal, a snack or a cup of coffee have increased.
Three businesses opened while college students were on summer break: Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily, Jeremiah’s Coffee House, and Tonya’s Country Kitchen.
Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily on Second Street opened its doors on May 8, 2015, and has since been serving three flavors of freshly-made frozen custard each week.
“We pride ourselves on the custard being so creamy,” owner Bernita Freimann said. “It’s like a dense form of ice cream. There’s less air mixed into it, and there’s a higher protein content, so more egg in it.”
The Whit’s franchise, based in Granville, Ohio, includes 24 locations.
“I fell in love with Whit’s when I lived in Granville,” Freimann said. “I fell in love with the product so I’m very proud to be able to offer that and represent the franchise.”
In addition to expanding the franchise, Freimann was eager to help restore downtown Marietta, and did so by selecting a vacant downtown building to become the location of Whit’s.
“I love this building, and it had sat vacant for over ten years, so I was very pleased to purchase the building and help revitalize [it],” she said.
Whit’s also offers coffee, sandwiches, JR’s Doughnuts baked goods, and cupcakes from the Village Cakery in Lowell, Ohio.
Two other businesses opened on Front Street over the summer.
Jeremiah’s Coffee House had its grand opening on June 3, 2015. Sisters and co-owners Elizabeth Johnson and Karen Henthorn opened Jeremiah’s next to S.W.A.G.G., a boutique owned by Johnson and Henthorn’s sister, Kat Bigley. The name of the coffee house holds a great deal of significance for the sisters.
“We were going to name it something different,” Henthorn said. “It was going to be called Big K’s Café, but in the midst of planning it, my nephew passed away suddenly, so when he passed away we decided to name it after him and honor him.”
Jeremiah’s serves freshly roasted coffee, baked goods, and lunch offerings. Recipes from Big K’s catering are prepared at the coffee house and many other baked goods come from Lisa’s Sweet Stop in Beverly, Ohio.
In addition to the food and drink offerings, Jeremiah’s also provides live music, open-mic nights, and other entertainment.
“During the Sternwheel Festival we are going to have karaoke and live music outside,” Henthorn said.
Henthorn believes the atmosphere of Jeremiah’s will be appealing to college students as well as the coffee.
“I feel like it’s an environment where they can come hang out,” she said. “It’s not the bar scene, for those who don’t particularly care to be in the bar scene.”
Jeremiah’s coffee house also offers a 10 percent discounts to college students who show their ID.
Located across the street from Jeremiah’s, Tonya’s Country Kitchen opened on June 8, 2015, and offers homemade, country-style cooking.
“We are trying to do as much homemade food as we possibly can,” owner Tonya Pelphrey said. “It’s more like being at home, what your mom or grandma made when you were small. I want to give it the feel of not going out to eat.”
Like Freimann, Pelphrey was also interested in restoring a historic downtown building while fulfilling her dream of owning her own restaurant.
“This building has been empty for years, since 2011,” she said. “It’s very cute, and it was just going to waste.”
Pelphrey believes the main attraction for college students will be her home-cooked meals.
“Especially when they miss their mom’s cooking, and they get tired of eating ramen noodles and hamburgers, they can come down and actually have a meal,” she said. “And I think my prices are very reasonable. You can eat here for under $10 and guarantee you’ll be full.”