The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 16, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Wood-fired bakery arrives on Main

— The Mohaska Farmhouse, with its wood-fired oven, has opened in the former Green-Yates GE store at 1821 S. Main St.

The transformation of this former appliance store into a place where artisan breads and pizzas are baked with wood heat is nothing short of phenomenal. The owners, Jamey Smith and Eric Dicharry, have worked long hours to build from scratch a brick oven, dining room and kitchen.

To create an open and inviting interior, they have removed the ceiling that had been above the appliance showroom. Doing that has created a vaulted ceiling that exposes the wood rafters.

The owners went out of their way to recycle materials as they went along. The interior has vintage touches, including some antique doors and fixtures. Old canning jars have been turned into lamps. A stranger donated glazed brick for the oven.

Junge Bakery, home of Bunny Bread, once existed across the street from the Mohaska Farmhouse. Someone brought in a flour dolly that was used there. Someone else contributed a Bunny Bread wrapper that they had framed. On one wall is a historic photo that shows that the building was once Potter’s Hatchery, a place you could buy newly hatched chicks. Before that, it was a packinghouse. Records show there’s been a business in that building for more than 90 years.

The place has an organic feel to it that reflects the products that are crafted there. Their breads are handcrafted using organic flours, sea salt and spring water. Locally grown and organic products are used when available. A loaf of whole-wheat bread sells for $4. Other varieties are available.

If you have been to the Webb City Farmers Market, you have probably seen the breads made by the Redings Mill Bread Co. That company has been folded into the Mohaska Farmhouse.

The 12-inch pizzas range in price from $9.95 to $17.95, depending on the toppings. You can build your own pizza. You can get a whole-wheat crust, if that’s what you like. In addition to pizza, there’s a selection of appetizers and sandwiches.

Wood fires are built in a brick oven that is 6 feet by 10 feet. The brick holds the heat and radiates it back to bake the bread and the pizza. If you visit a restroom, make sure you feel the wall on the north side of the oven. In fact, if the restroom is occupied, rest your back against the wall. You won’t regret it.

The restaurant’s name comes from Dicharry’s childhood connection to Mohaska Park, a little park near Mohaska and Sergeant avenues in the southwest part of the city. The park was damaged by the tornado. The city intends to repair the damage.

The restaurant and bakery will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

If you are not sure where it is, look for the bent Green-Yates sign out front. You can thank the tornado for that. The appliance store has relocated to a storefront at 808 E. 15th St.

For decades, the air at 18th and Main streets had the aroma of freshly baked bread thanks to Junge Bakery. Well, it’s back, and that’s a good thing.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

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