Some of the most innovative, inspiring dishes are showing up in family restaurants and neighborhood diners across the country. Beyond serving up the familiar favorites we know and love, these independent restaurants are known for their creativity and their ability to turn out signature menu items their customers crave and can’t find anywhere else.
Each year, General Mills Foodservice celebrates independent restaurants, showcasing their one-of-a-kind special dishes that are often unique to their region. This is the third in a three-part series sharing the inspiring stories of the 2017 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest Winners—the chefs behind the recipes, their restaurant operations and how they bring creativity to their menu.
West Egg Café (Atlanta, Georgia)
Pastry Chef Carrie Hudson runs the bakery at West Egg Café, a neighborhood gem in the burgeoning Atlanta Westside community, known for Southern comfort food in a modern, energetic environment. The popular stop has been offering all-day breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch since 2004.
When Carrie is not stocking the restaurant’s bakery counter with a plentiful supply of beautiful and delicious baked goods, she loves to come up with new flavor combinations for the famous hand pies she first introduced at a local farmer’s market. Inspired by fresh, seasonal produce and market-goers’ demand for more savory flavors, Carrie started to experiment with local produce like butternut squash in her pastries, which led to her award-winning recipe in the 2017 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest.
Carrie’s Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Turnover, combining thyme-seasoned squash and creamy goat cheese wrapped in Pillsbury Puff Pastry, won the Breakfast category and earned her a $10,000 cash prize. Since winning, Carrie has appeared on Atlanta TV stations, tried out for a Food Network show and pursued new business opportunities for West Egg Café.
“Our special event business is exploding, creating amazing opportunities to connect with our guests on a more personal level,” said Carrie. “Winning this contest has been a career high, a very validating experience and one which I will continue to build on for years to come.”
Carrie is also actively evaluating farmer's markets for West Egg to participate in next season—hopefully bringing her award-winning recipe full circle to where it all started. Regardless, the turnovers have a permanent spot on the café’s menu.
“Throughout the year, I rotate the flavors of our turnovers to ensure they are seasonal. I am always excited when butternut squash is in season as the flavor becomes so much richer and sweeter in the turnovers,” Carrie added.
For more information on the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, including details on how to enter this year’s contest as well as past winners and their award-winning recipes, please visit NeighborhoodtoNation.com.
This post is sponsored by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice