Fresh Deli serving local food at Freight House

Posted Online: March 31, 2012, 2:00 pm
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By Lindsay Hocker,
DAVENPORT -- The Freight House is focused on all things fresh and local, and so are its new tenants.

Fresh Deli by Nostalgia Farms opened in the building at 421 W. River Drive in early February, offering a variety of items, including breakfast food, sliders, soups, salads and flatbread pizzas.

The restaurant is next to the space where the indoor Freight House Farmers Market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with a door connecting the two open during market times.

On a recent morning, the counter at Fresh Deli was weighed down with loaves of bread, granola, biscotti, sweet breads, sticky buns, cookies and other baked goods for sale.

Ed Kraklio, who co-owns Fresh Deli with Joseph Dennis, said 45 to 50 percent of ingredients used at Fresh Deli are from within 100 miles of the Quad-Cities area.

"We're getting dollars in those local farmers' hands," said Mr. Kraklio, who hopes to increase that percentage of local foods used to 90 percent or better this summer, when more local produce is available.

The restaurant has 12 employees -- about four full time -- and is looking to hire a handful more.

At Fresh Deli, all the meat used is local. Handmade sodas also are on the menu. Flavors vary, but recent options were Citrus Thyme, Huckleberry and Strawberry.

Mr. Kraklio said they began working on the space, once occupied by Balls and Pucks Sports Cafe, in November and had to redo the entire kitchen because "they sold everything."

Front Street Brewery hopes to open a new location in the Freight House by mid-April, a couple blocks from the company's existing location at 208 E. River Drive, Davenport, which will remain open.

Jennie Zuidema, who co-owns Front Street with husband Steve, said the Freight House site will be a micro-brewery with a bar and seating for about 40. "People can actually sit and watch the (brewing) process," she said.

All brewing will be done at the Freight House site once it opens, at least tripling the amount of what's brewed annually, Ms. Zuidema said, adding that "we're way overdue" for an expansion. An undetermined number of new employees will be added at both locations.

Ms. Zuidema also likes the local angle. She said the new brew tanks were made by Crawford Company of Rock Island, and a local farmer will take the spent grain left after the brewing process to use on his farm.

Mr. Kraklio said people come to Fresh Deli not only for the food, but for the atmosphere and view of the Mississippi River through a wall of glass. "How could you beat this kind of scenery every day?"

The view also played a big part in making the Freight House a good fit for Front Street Brewery, along with the added parking and the deck, Ms. Zuidema said

This isn't the first restaurant for Nostalgia Farms, of Maysville, Iowa. Nostalgia Farms to Go operated for about three years in Davenport, before it closed about 12 years ago.

It was very successful, and also used local ingredients when possible, Mr. Kraklio said. "Now, we've taken it a step further."

At least one more business is coming to the city-owned Freight House later this year, when Ms. Zuidema plans to open an events space in the former Nan's Piano Bar.

She said it will be a separate business from Front Street, and she hopes to have it open in June at the latest.

A name hasn't been decided, but "right now, Nan's is sticking, because we all know it as that," Ms. Zuidema said.

Quad City Food Hub president Carla Jaquet said by email that the Food Hub's strategic plan calls for a local, fresh, daily market, and a committee has been delegated to explore siting it in the Freight House.

Ms. Jaquet said other Food Hub goals include creating a certified community kitchen space, establishing a wholesale distribution venue, connecting farmers and producers to public and private entities, and identifying and supporting community gardens, "which will provide lasting education and individual opportunity to grow nutritious food."

She described the Food Hub as "a community-based initiative designed to strengthen our local food system through education" and an "increase of opportunities in both the demand and delivery of sustainably produced, safe, nutritious, locally grown and processed foods."

What's at the Freight House?

The Freight House building, at 421 W. River Drive, includes:

--The Freight House Farmers' Market, a year-round farmer's market. The indoor market is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The outdoor market, open at the same times, kicks off for the season in May. Online at

--Fresh Deli by Nostalgia Farms. Opened in February. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Food includes breakfast, sliders, soups, salads and flatbread pizzas. (563) 424-4561. Online at

--Front Street Brewery. The owners are hoping to open the new location in mid-April. Front Street Brewery includes a micro-brewery and bar. Their existing location, at 208 E. River Drive, will remain open. (563) 322-1569. Online at


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