Good things come in small batches at Saxonburg eatery
Two best friends are cooking up success together — one batch at a time.
That’s how Batch, a fresh food eatery and retail store in Saxonburg began five years ago — with buddies and business partners Meghan Pohl and Jessica Brewster making their specialty homemade jams and jellies in small batches from a church kitchen, selling them at area farmer’s markets, and, later, opening a brick-and-mortar store on Main Street featuring their signature jams and an array of other homemade offerings.
“We’re jam junkies,” Pohl says, “with a dream and vision of starting our own business.”
Batch’s growth and success led to a need for their current and larger location — a historic building at 230 West Main Street — in 2017.
The besties, both 35, cook up “small batch” foods daily.
The menu changes weekly with mainstay homemade specialties such as quiche, breads, soups, sandwiches and desserts always in production.
“We don’t want to make the same thing all of the time,” Brewster says. “Making foods in small batches allows us to offer different foods each week — that’s why we’re called ‘Batch.’ ”
The duo, both raised in households where the kitchen was the heart of the family, have extended that philosophy at Batch, bringing locally sourced seasonal ingredients to their kitchen, connecting produce to the people and emphasizing freshness.
“We always wanted to make things the old way with a twist, utilizing local and fresh produce,” Brewster of Butler says. “We always want people to eat a healthy, home-cooked meal without having to cook it themselves.”
Customers stop in to grab a quick lunch or pick up dinner.
An open fridge is stocked daily with quiches, soups, fresh local farm eggs, homemade meals like meatloaf and jarred soups.
Muffins with a creative twist include flavors such as lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon and lemon lavender.
“They have fresh baked breads and muffins and things you can pick up on your way to munch on or whatever you need for lunch, and it’s just a nice place to come,” says frequent customer Natalie Albaugh. “I like their quiche.”
Batch encourages customers to depart from their usual strawberry-jam mode.
Choose from more than 15 interesting flavors of jams and jellies — top sellers include Monkey Butter (banana, pineapple and coconut), Black Blue Bourbon, Garlic Hot Pepper and Raspberry Almond.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are soup days. Stuffed breads are the focus Wednesdays. Grab a meal to-go on “Stress Free Friday Meals” and Saturday is quiche day.
The 2016 U.S. Open, hosted at Oakmont Country Club, selected Batch’s Sweet Onion Jam as a featured food item.
“We try and create different and unique flavors, things you won’t find other places. Like, today, we have a bacon and cheddar and a garlic pesto breads today,” Brewster says. “People just eat it cold or slice it into breadsticks and warm it up at home.”
Quiche combinations get creative at Batch. Look for flavors such as Kielbasa and kraut, spinach, roasted red bell pepper and Italian cheese and chicken apple Gouda.
Fresh salads and breads are offered daily.
Retail items are sprinkled throughout Batch’s airy and cheerful interior.
Peruse the quaint shop for homegrown and handmade items such as dish towels, soaps, jewelry, lotion, aprons, baby items, candles, pillows, clothing and more.
Batch recently partnered with co-packer, Verona-based Pittsburgh Pickle Co., to expand their jam production.
“They are a small, locally owned business, and everything will still be homemade but they have a 30 gallon kettle and our jams and jellies will be made just the way we make it but at their location,” Brewster says.
Pittsburgh Pickle Co. owner John Patterson says he has a handful of co-packing partnerships in the works.
“Instead of them producing their jam product in their kitchen, it will be produced here. Everyone keeps finding out about us through the grapevine,” he says.
Pohl and Brewster both settled in Saxonburg, juggling motherhood, marriage and the demands of running a small business together.
“We have just created a family relationship, so we are open and honest with each other,” Pohl says. “The business is very important to us — it’s like one of our kids. We have a deep respect for each other and the roles we play. We both have our jobs that we have to do and, after five years, we have that down to a science — most days, anyway.”
Visit Batch early if possible, popular daily items such as their custom breads sell out.
“If we quit making our regular bread and biscuits, I think there would be an uprising,” Brewster says. “When we are out of bread at the end of the day, the customers are like, ‘Awwwwww.’ ”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.