Leader photo/ALY GIBSON David Heflin, head chef and owner of Foodies Fresh Café and Catering, places fresh spinach into a sautee pan Tuesday morning as WNIT’s Scott Kinrade and his cameraman watch. A segment on Foodies will appear on the television station’s Experience Michiana program.

Dowagiac’s Foodies to appear in TV segment

Published 5:50pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Downtown Dowagiac staple Foodies Fresh Cafe and Catering will make its television debut, showing off cooking instruction and a recipe or two.

The restaurant, opened by David Heflin and his wife, Carol, in October 2011, boasts several homemade favorites that are made fresh daily. With a rear herb garden that provides spice, such as basil, oregano and cilantro, Heflin cooks fresh-baked bread and other dishes that keep the dining room and sidewalk tables filled. WNIT’s “Experience Michiana” host Scott Kinrade arrived Tuesday morning to film a segment for the program, detailing Heflin’s cooking techniques and recipes.

“Scott came in and enjoyed his experience and told the waiter he’d like to see about doing a segment on Foodies,” Alex Nehring, son of Heflin and Carol and manager of the restaurant, said.

Kinrade said the choice of Foodies fit with what the segment tries to focus on each Thursday.

“We have a lot of fun with it, and we stick to locally owned places,” Kinrade said. “They are distinct and add a different flavor to Michiana.”

Nehring said, since the eatery has been operating by word-of-mouth, a television segment including the establishment says something about the customers.

“It’s very exciting,” Nehring said. “To get this extra attention, it feels like we’re doing a good job, and people are talking about us after they come here.”

One menu item that seems to be a universal favorite is the artisan burger, which costs $6.

“People are usually surprised they can get everything on the burger for no charge,” Nehring said. “We try to give competitive prices and fresh food.”

Nehring also said they treat the business as a family experience. With his parents working and owning the restaurant, a customer, Amber Muha, eventually became an employee because she came in so often.

“The best part is interacting with everyone,” Nehring said. “They become extended family.”

Heflin’s cooking shows that relationship, too. The cafe recently added a gluten-free portion to its menu, something that has become a hit with some customers who haven’t been able to eat pancakes in more than 20 years.

“If someone comes in with a variation or something they’d like to eat, they tell us, and we usually say, ‘Yeah, we can do that,’” Nehring said. “We want people to feel at home.”

WNIT’s “Experience Michiana segment,” featuring Foodies, will appear within the next week or so at 6:30 p.m.

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