First-time customers at Flavor Garden, a café and snack bar that opened last month at 906 Montgomery St., often smile at the offerings of ice cream and sandwiches they see upon arrival. Then, they see funnel cakes listed on the handwritten menu board and express their excitement with a squeal of delight, said owner Deirdre Holliday-Williams, so unexpected is the item outside of festivals.
The funnel cakes are but one of the homemade staples at the new café that also features chicken wings, hot dogs and cold drinks. The business is a dream of Holliday-Williams, a former Laurel resident who works in human resources for a hotel management company and runs Flavor Garden and a related internet business on the side.
“This is my passion,” she said.
Flavor Garden grew out of a love of family. It began several years ago when Holliday-Williams’ mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and complained of a metallic taste to food and loss of appetite. Holliday-Williams began making her own rubs and sauces to flavor her mom’s meals and help her maintain weight. Her family encouraged Holliday-Williams, then living in Lanham, to share her culinary creations, so she set up a website to sell her items online.
Then Holliday-Williams’ husband died unexpectedly and she moved, with her sons, to Laurel, where a niece lived.
She made stops with her boys for ice cream at Sweets and Treats Creamery, which was then at 906 Montgomery St., and was charmed by the building and the neighborhood.
Holliday-Williams eventually moved to Beltsville, but a visit back to Laurel revealed that 906 Montgomery St. was available for rent after Sweets and Treats Creamery moved to Main Street last year. Holliday-Williams, who has degrees in hotel and restaurant management and culinary arts, wanted to expand her internet business into a brick-and-mortar café, so she jumped on the opening. Now, she uses those rubs and spices to season the offerings at Flavor Garden, where her sister and her mom work as well.
“Everyone has been so nice,” Holliday-Williams said, of her customers. “They’re so excited.”
She plans to celebrate Flavor Garden’s arrival in Old Town on Saturday, June 30, with a grand opening that she hopes will feature family fun, including ice cream, face painting and a moon bounce. Holliday-Williams said she loves owning a business in such a close-knit community.
“It’s such a cute little concept,” she said. “It fits so well. I like that it’s cozy and intimate with everyone enjoying the food.”
Flavor Garden is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m. (hours are subject to change) at 906 Montgomery St. Call 240-280-8182 or go to sit yourflavorgarden.com for more information.
Laurel Historical Society is offering two free summer camps this year. Registration is open for the Rube Goldberg Camp for rising third through fifth graders to be held June 26- une 29, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. daily. Registration begins May 29 for the GSK Science in the summer camp about the science of space from Aug. 20-24. Level I, for second and third graders, will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Level II, for fourth through sixth graders, will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration for both camps can be made through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The camps will be held at the Laurel Museum, 817 Main St. Call 301-725-7975 for more information.