It’s all familiar when you walk into what was Common Grounds on Main Street in Flowery Branch. The sounds, the smells, the ambient light.
The sign on the front door isn’t as familiar, though. After selling smoothies out of Common Grounds for almost a year, Whole Being Cafe and the Tomlinson family have taken over and are serving a new menu of healthy, wholesome options with some comfort food, too.
“I make food for every mood,” said Gail Tomlinson, co-owner of the new cafe with her husband, Kevin. “If you need comfort food, we've got you. If you need something a little healthier on the cleaner side, we've got you.”
Whole Being Cafe at Common Grounds is focused on healthy options, because that’s what helped Gail get to where she is in life. She was having health issues, was pre-diabetic and had high cholesterol. She had some allergies that were causing even more issues. She searched for solutions and in the process of finding them, she became a certified nutritionist.
“My smoothies are 100% plant based,” Gail said. “And I’ve brought in gluten-free options, vegan options, vegetarian options.”
There are smoothies on the menu like the heartbeat, fog lifter or octane — Gail’s favorite.
“They're all whole food,” she said. “It's not a mix. When you order a smoothie it's actually real food.”
Fog lifter is full of hemp protein, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, spinach, pineapple, avocado, cashew, flax powder and almond milk. The other smoothies are filled with similar ingredients.
But if a smoothie isn’t your thing, there are other healthy options like a spinach wrap, which is gluten-free and vegan-friendly and vegetable soup which is 100% vegetables.
That’s why Jenna Strang and her daughter Jalyssa Campbell stopped by the cafe Tuesday, Jan. 7. They’re both vegetarian, and with not many options in the area, they wanted to try out Whole Being Cafe.
“I saw on Facebook they had switched it over, so we decided to come for lunch,” Strang said. “I'd never been here before.”
Being from New York, she said there were a good bit of healthy options around them. When they moved to Flowery Branch a year ago, they couldn’t find a reliable place.
“We missed having a healthy, cafe-style place,” Strang said.
It seems like they’ve found it now.
“This is a great place to come,” Campbell said. “It's right down the road.”
But if your diet isn’t restricted, there are some choices on the menu for you, too.
“I really wanted to do a blend,” Gail said.
Gail’s daughter, Madeline Robertson, makes the chicken salad using her own recipe and Kevin makes macaroni and cheese that’s a work of his own with smoked gouda and bacon.
And of course, they still have all the coffee options you’d want to go with your breakfast.
They’re serving a gravy biscuit, frittata or breakfast burrito and all of it is made in-house, even the buttermilk biscuits Gail can’t eat because of her wheat allergy.
Whether she eats them or not, she’s making them for her customers. And as people came in and out of the cafe Tuesday, she greeted each one of them or thanked them for stopping by.
“We want it to be homey, downtown and when you come in I want to know your name, I want to talk to you like I’ve known you forever and I want you to feel that comfort when you're in here,” Gail said.
And with all the new restaurants and development coming to Flowery Branch, Gail is optimistic about what Whole Being will become.
“I think it will be great,” she said of the cafe’s future. “We're very encouraged. I'm hoping it's going to be a good thing for everybody, and whatever businesses they bring across the street … I think it's going to be awesome.”
Even with the renovating of their own inside the cafe, there’s still a familiar feeling when you walk in. And if you don’t feel it the first time you walk in, you’re sure to feel it the next.
“We've always loved coffeehouses,” Gail said. “We love the atmosphere of it … We want it to be where you walk through the door, if we don't know your name, we're going to know your name and you're going to feel like you're home.”