Town & Gown Q&A: Melanie Phillips, Co-Owner of The Village Eatinghouse Marketplace & Café
With 20-plus years experience in catering, restaurant, and specialty food production industries, Clay and Melanie Phillips are more than qualified to successfully run their newest company in Pleasant Gap, The Village Eatinghouse Marketplace & Café.
With a grand opening scheduled for Sept. 7-8, their café offers a variety of fresh and local food.
Inspired by their love and appreciation for local talent, their marketplace also will feature the work of local artisans, musicians, authors, and specialty food producers. Melanie recently shared with Town&Gown some of her ideas behind their new adventure.
T&G: Will the café be separated from the marketplace?
Phillips: No, it will all be incorporated. This way, you can eat your soup and sandwiches while you enjoy the artwork and plethora of items at the marketplace.
T&G: Where does all the food come from?
Phillips: Some local producers provide the meats, cheeses, and fresh produce, which we keep in a huge walk-in cooler. We make all pies, the lemonade, kielbasa corn chowder, baked goods, a variety of salads, and then we have our homemade salad dressings and marinades.
T&G: What will the prices be like?
Phillips: We want people to be able to shop regularly with us so they can feel like they are getting a good value and good food at good pricing.
T&G: What is it like working with your husband as your partner?
Phillips: For the first 11 years of our life together we worked at the Village Eatinghouse in Boalsburg. We worked together hand-in-hand. For the last five years, we’ve been worked separately and we have missed each other. We work better as a team because we play off of each other’s strengths.
T&G: What is your mission for the Village Eatinghouse?
Phillips: To share the bounty of Central PA through education and entertainment. I say education because we will have programs to teach people how to make certain things on their own, whether it be a piece of art or a food dish. I say entertainment because we will have local music playing in the marketplace on Thursdays. We want to highlight artists in all ways that we can.
T&G: What would you say makes your marketplace unique?
Phillips: I think that it really comes back to the basics. It brings community to what otherwise might just be a space to eat or shop. It brings community to that space.
T&G: Why do you think Pleasant Gap is a good location for your new company?
Phillips: It’s a bedroom community that’s been sleepy for so long. It’s so close to the major places like State College, Bellefonte, and Centre Hall. It’s in right space and is just now blossoming. There are an awful lot of great things about to happen in Pleasant Gap and we really want to be part of that.