If ever there were a place where everyone “knew your name,” Steady Eddy’s Cafe at the Flint Farmers’ Market is just the spot. Set amidst a backdrop of fresh produce, hand made pastries and a wide selection of global foods sits a small cafe with a loyal following and a long tradition as a market staple.
Steady Eddy’s was established years ago on the second floor of the Flint Farmers’ Market (original location). As the only full service restaurant it quickly developed a following with market shoppers looking for an eclectic selection of sandwiches, soups and all around market fresh fare.
In the spring of 2015 Chris Veihl and Nichol Albiar took over ownership of the cafe in the new location of the Flint Farmers’ Market. Not missing a beat the pair continued cooking long time menu favorites while Veihl sprinkled in inventive new dishes that take advantage of the seasonal bounty of the Market. Albiar, with masterful control of the dining room went to work creating an inviting dining experience while at the same time working with market vendor, The Local Grocer, to plant a flower garden to surround their outdoor seating area.
Veil, who has been with Steady Eddy’s for 14 years, heads up the kitchen and is the driving force behind the menu and daily specials. Sandwiches can run from mild to wild, one example being the recent feature of a grilled cheese on Crust Bakery sourdough bread with aged cheddar cheese, cream cheese and jalapeno peppers. A favorite of Veihl’s is the veggie melt, which just happens to be the first sandwich he ate at Steady Eddy’s long ago. His breakfast repertoire isn’t to be overlooked either. Longtime comfort classics like warm oatmeal topped with fresh seasonal berries are featured on the menu alongside his own scratch made biscuits and gravy.
Albiar, who has been with the restaurant for the last 7 years, has been witness to a rebirth of sorts for Steady Eddy’s that has in many ways mirrored that of Flint’s entire downtown. “Business has changed in many ways,” says Albiar. “We get double the foot traffic since we are [now] on the main floor. We're now also handicap accessible. We are now also open on a couple of off market days which are Wednesday and Friday. We love being downtown” Making the move to the new market location and setting down roots in a prominent location has exposed them to many new customers.
The atmosphere of the restaurant on any market day can be described as festive and diverse. In one corner of the dining room you may see professors and doctors from the Michigan State College of Human Medicine, a congressman sitting at the counter and college students filling up on coffee before classes start. At the same time the outdoor terrace can be filled with downtown workers on a lunch break sitting along side long time Steady Eddy faithfuls. “I would say about 50-60% are regulars and we know a lot of them by name.” says Albiar. It’s the type of restaurant that wraps its arms around the community and makes everyone feel welcome.
With Veihl at the helm in the kitchen and Albiar attending to guests in the dining room you are sure to get the personal touch of an owner with every visit. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 2:45 pm they are able to keep up with demand on days when the market is not open for business. They offer catering to local offices and for quite a few of the special events scheduled in the market. To keep their customers faithful the staff of Steady Eddy’s keeps the menu fresh with creative specials turned out by Veihl in the restaurant’s small but mighty kitchen.
“We would love to one day in the future make our own corn beef, pastrami and pulled pork,” said Viehl. The restaurant’s style lends itself well to a cuisine that is well rooted in comfort food that has a contemporary spin on it. Veihl and his crew excel at combining bold flavors and farm fresh ingredients in dishes that range from down home favorites to contemporary comfort with flair. “We just put out a new menu at the first of the year with some of our new favorites,” he adds.
The future of the restaurant is certain to be bright as Veihl and Albiar continue to welcome new customers who are just discovering the great friendly atmosphere of Steady Eddy’s. As downtown Flint continues to bring new faces to the city by way of University of Michigan Flint, Kettering University and the recent addition of Michigan State University, the pair plan to cater to the evolving and demanding tastes of college students and young professionals. But don’t try to hold the pair back. “We would love to have a food truck on day called Steady's on the road,” said Albiar.