By B.C. Kowalski
Sarah Jo More has had a long history of feeding people long before the days of Main Grain Bakery. It went back more than a decade, when she was a college student and would throw elaborate dinner parties and would bake out of her kitchen. She has stories of running around in her 97 Pontiac Sunfire delivering her delicious wares around town.
Today, More and her husband Michael sit in her eatery, attached to the bakery she started with two baker friends post-college, a decade ago. Those friends moved on after a couple of years and More has built a bakery empire in Stevens Point.
Last June she opened Main Grain Bakery and Eatery after taking over the cafe space of Emy J’s. The lunch spot offers sandwiches and soups inside a kinfolk-style dining area that’s comfy and Instagram-worthy. That’s much the result of her husband’s lighting design background.
Expanding Main Grain Bakery
How it all came together is pretty serendipitous. The previous owner of the cafe was a bit hit or miss on being open, something patrons of Emy J’s had expressed irritation about to this reporter. One day he packed up all his stuff and left. More and her husband looked at the space and started dreaming about what it could look like.
They happened to be meeting with Guy Janssen, long-time owner of Stevens Point institution Emy J’s and current building owner. More let Janssen know that, should the space become available, they would be interested in doing something with it. Turns out, Janssen was all ears. By Jan. 1, they owned the space next to Main Grain Bakery.
For those unfamiliar, the building just north of downtown Stevens Point hosts Emy J’s coffee shop, the cafe space in the middle and Main Grain Bakery on the end. Michael and Sarah Jo began what was going to be a little painting and eventually completely renovated the space to what it is today.
By June, the space was ready and is already bringing in folks not only from Stevens Point, but also from Wausau and other surrounding areas. The business is open 11-3 every day for lunch (closed Mondays), and on Thursday evenings they open from 5-9 offering snack boards and wine.
What does that menu look like? Well, sandwiches and soups might sound basic but one look at the menu will show you they’re anything but. From the Jitterbug, with “Rustic White, Roasted Golden Beets, Artichoke Pesto, Fresh Dill, Shallots, White Balsamic and Shaved Cucumbers” to the Banh Mi with “Baguette, Miso Aioli, Marinated Paneer, Cucumbers, Pickled Carrots + Onions, + Radish, Basil, Mint, Chili Sauce and Jalapeños” you can see this is not your typical sandwich fare. All are made with Main Grain Bakery’s signature sourdough.
The soups receive similar attention. Michael says his forte is making soups from scratch. It’s something he used to do in order to unwind from a busy day. Now getting up and making those soups is happily part of his routine.
More opened the first sourdough bakery in Stevens Point more than 10 years ago. Now she and her husband also own the eatery and they plan to build out an event space in the Central City Marketplace project further south in Stevens Point. (The original plan was to move the whole operation to the Altenburg Daiy building which is being renovated into a local business coop; Sarah Jo is quick to point out they definitely still plan to have a presence there.)
It’s one delicious empire they’re building.