BY JOHN FEW
PHOTOS BY JOSHUA BERRY
When Patricia Garcia opened her Fresh Starts Café in Madison a couple of months ago, she blended the perfect ingredients together – the ability to truly help others in a way she is passionate about and meet a community need at the same time.
Because of her upbringing to appreciate eating healthy and her immense love for the relaxing atmosphere of quaint coffee shops, Garcia found herself face-to-face with an idea: There were plenty of options for coffee shops in Madison/Huntsville and a few healthy eating choices, but to find it all under one roof was a rarity. Garcia took a bold step, and Fresh Starts Café in Madison was created – a perfect blend of both.
“I was wanting to start a business of my own,” Garcia said. “I like to create things, and I have a passion for healthy eating. So, why not make a go of it?”
Garcia said she has set out to provide a safe alternative for eating out. Fresh Starts Café, located at 7559 Highway 72 W., Suite 111, near the corner of Highway 72 and Nance Road, is a self-described “mom and pop” café and kitchen serving a menu composed entirely of organic, natural and non-GMO ingredients.
Customers are met with a relaxing ambiance as they order a fresh cup of hot coffee or tea and a made-from-scratch breakfast burrito or the smashed avocado toast topped with organic hemp seeds and micro greens. With a mixture of organic food and homemade recipes, Garcia said her goal is to offer a meal diners can trust to provide their bodies with optimal fuel. “Our unique menu has something for everybody, from our vegetarian bowls to keto-friendly options like our popular primal bowl and keto coffee,” she said.
The café offers a wide range of delicious, healthy meals – like the Smoked Salmon Toast, a Norwegian wild-caught salmon with a blend of smashed avocado, lemon zest, spinach and purple onions. It’s a festive dish full of flavor that has been perfected from Garcia’s family kitchen through the years. “I grew up that way,” Garcia said, explaining the recipes she uses come from her family’s own heritage. “My mother raised us on homemade, healthy and very flavorful meals made with fresh ingredients and non-processed foods.”
One of Fresh Starts Café’s most popular dishes, the breakfast burrito, is no ordinary burrito. It’s a mixture of quality natural ingredients: bacon, free-range eggs, tri-color bell peppers, avocados and cheese topped with cilantro. Another favorite, Alma’s Bowl, is a grilled chicken dish with white rice, mango pico, mixed greens, cilantro and a sweet potato seasoned with salt and pepper.
A wide selection of entrees includes the chicken fajitas, another favorite among customers. It consists of three tacos with chicken, cilantro, onions and a choice of green or red spicy sauce. There is also the steak and chicken tacos de la calle, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, various panini sandwiches and assorted bowls. Being a mother, Garcia has also created a children’s menu that comes from her experience with her own child.
Then there’s the coffees. The café offers traditional espresso choices like latte, cappuccino, cordato, mocha, macchiato, double shot espresso and regular coffee, as well as specialty drinks, like keto coffee, matcha latte, chai latte, homemade horchata latte and hot chocolate. Fresh Starts also features a variety of shroom brews, including a mushroom matcha latte mix, a mushroom cacao reishi and a mushroom elixir with chaga latte.
An assortment of organic smoothies feature on the menu, too. One called the Green Machine is a blend of cucumber, mint, green apple, honey and avocado. Another one, called the Blue Sky Bowl, is a blue spirulina smoothie with bananas and mango, topped with seasonal fruit, nuts and coconut shaves. Avariety of loose leaf teas, juices and organic shakes are also available.
The entire menu comes from Garcia’s belief that eating healthy changes lives. “My family saw what a huge difference it made emotionally, psychically and in the way we respond to people,” she said. “We believe it has become all too common for businesses to cut corners at the expense of their consumers. We care about the health and well-being of our community, and our answer to the issues of our time is to dance to the beat of a different drum, get back to nature and be the change we want to see. We seek to pioneer a new industry standard we hope will ripple into ever-greater effects and a brighter future for all.”
Healthy eating is Garcia’s passion, and she uses her cafe to help invest something positive in the lives of anyone who walks in. She uses the café as a platform to help educate the community on the importance of healthy eating and encourage customers to consider a fresh start in their eating habits. “A lot of people want to eat healthy but don’t know where to start. We want to encourage change and do our part to help people,” Garcia said. “It’s never too late to have a fresh start.”
And her customers seem to appreciate that. During the day, it is easy to see why so many people already love Fresh Starts Café. Many come to eat; some are there to work while sipping their favorite brew in a relaxing setting; and there are those who have found that Fresh Starts Café is a perfect meeting place. The mix of the right atmosphere, great food with all healthy choices, delicious drinks and friendly faces is what has made this café a regular stop for many returning customers.
Fresh Starts Café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, go to freshstartscafe.com or call 256-325-3944.