With a new year comes the opportunity to make new choices. If you haven’t visited Freshies Café [290 W Kagy Blvd Suite A, Bozeman] since they opened in March 2020, it’s time to freshen up your food options. The space, which formerly housed Sola Café, has been brightened up and given a new coat of paint, a new lounge on the upper level, and a variety of new seating. The community table and kids’ play area under the stairs remain, welcoming everyone to visit and enjoy the open and inviting atmosphere. Owner/operator Devan Hammond took the time to introduce Bozeman to her café.
Angie Ripple: How was Freshies Café conceptualized?
Devan Hammond: My husband Matt and I have been in the food industry for a long time. I worked as a waitress and bartender through college at MSU, on the front lines of food service. And we both worked in more of a professional aspect in Seattle after college. I was working on the supply chain and logistics of moving fresh fruits and vegetables around the west coast, eventually importing them. We were busy professionals and we wanted to create a place with fast service and good quality food at a reasonable price. We also wanted to leave Seattle, and we decided that Bozeman was a good spot to put our concept to work. And, my husband is a coffee junkie! So that’s why we wanted to do the coffee bar with the drive-through, and have morning service as well as the breakfast and lunch side of it.
The name Freshies was a way to present what our menu was going to offer. Our concept was that everything is either freshly made-to-order, or the ingredients in our stuff are made in-house, fresh, on a regular basis. So just that freshness is really what our food process is about, and we are also in a skiing community, so it’s a play on the double meaning [of the] word.
AR: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your doors?
DH: We really want our space to be just like open arms, a welcoming place. We have so many stories during Covid where people were so grateful just to have a place to go other than their house. As consumers ourselves, we just want something that’s simple and efficient; we’re not trying to go over the top on the food we offer.
We have honed in on our workflow, and the way we operate is that, really, [whether] you come through the drive-thru come inside, or come in online, you’re pretty much going to have a similar wait time. So if you order online, you’re going to still run through the drive-through queue, or you’re going to stand in line. Sometimes, we’ll have it ready at the counter, but really, everyone has the same experience. Our menu is very simple and easy to put together. Plus, it’s very fulfilling for customers. And because it is simple, we’re able to keep it affordable as well. So you are welcomed by a person, a human being that is there to answer questions and take your order, and give you as much time as you need. And then, the turnaround time is—what we try and say—is less than five minutes. Sometimes things happen, and it may take a bit longer.
AR: What makes Freshies unique in the Bozeman food scene?
DH: Both our sandwiches, and our salads. For sandwiches, we have more of a gourmet offering on the quick side of things, if you compare us to the other sandwich shops in town, where it’s more deli-style, old-style, East Coast Hoagie type sandwiches. And then salads: there isn’t really a place where you can go and customize a salad quickly, any day of the week, any time of the week; we offer our menu from open to close. So you can come through, get breakfast and coffee, and get your sandwiches or salad for later in the day. And we have gotten a lot of that, especially this summer. We got a lot of people who were going to the park. We do have regulars that will come in and get their coffee and their salad for lunch later in the day. So, that’s kind of the uniqueness we feel like we have in Bozeman—you can get our menu any time of day, and there are a lot of options for whatever your day brings you.
AR: What items do your regulars keep coming back for?
DH: It really varies. We have someone that comes in for a drip coffee and a burrito, probably four or five times a week. We have a gentleman who gets a smoothie and a scone five days a week, it really just kind of depends on the person and what they hone in on. This summer we had someone who would come in pre-work, get a sausage burrito, dine in and chat with the girls, just to kind of get mentally prepared to go to work.
And that’s what we think is really unique about that space—it can be for any type of person. So whether they have time to come in and sit down, or they’re just in a rush to come through the drive-thru, we’re there for them.
AR: What is your personal favorite menu item?
DH: Oh gosh! I would say the Roasted Veg Hummus sandwich is my favorite sandwich [seasonal roasted veggies, house-made pickled onions, and romaine on ciabatta; three-pepper colby jack cheese is optional], and then we have a new Tuscan breakfast sandwich. It’s sausage and basil aioli on an English muffin.
AR: Yum. What do you personally enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
DH: I came to Bozeman in 2004 when I went to college, and coming from Seattle, where it was becoming too much like California, I feel like Bozeman still has that small-town feel. You still have a very tight community connection. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about Bozeman—people who know the same people and it’s just a very small-town feel with a lot of good amenities. And there are a lot of people in the community who are trying to keep it sustainable. We have GVLT (Gallatin Valley Land Trust) trying to keep the trail systems connected, so that we have a good strong trail system for future generations, especially with their campaign with Peet’s Hill. And, we have a lot of other up-and-coming organizations just trying to provide good resources for the community.
AR: Do you have anything coming up that you would like the readers to know about?
DH: We’re really excited for January! We’re going to be doing some different types of lattes; we’ll have a beet latte (we’ll add dried beet powder into a latte), a charcoal latte, and a tumeric latte, as well as our macha latte. So, we’re going to have some unique flavors and options for people trying to avoid caffeine and alcohol in January. We’re also really excited to be working with developers in town to find our next location to be able to serve a broader segment of the community.
Whether you’re coming to eat and meet someone for breakfast, coffee, or lunch, Freshies has something on the menu that will get your attention and fill your belly. Devan and Matt know that life is busy… they are here to provide you with a quick and healthy option to keep you going forward.