Local husband-and-wife team to launch new European-style cafe near Centerville

‘Nutmeg Cafe’ coming to Dayton-Lebanon Pike in Washington Twp.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

A love of cooking combined with positive experiences while traveling abroad helped drive a Washington Twp. couple to launch their own European-style restaurant to be called the Nutmeg Café.

Erin and Bill Russ are partners in the new venture, which is coming soon to the Centerville Shoppes on State Route 48 just south of Centerville. The couple has signed a lease for a 1,400 square-foot space at 9166 Dayton-Lebanon Pike next door to a Sherwin-Williams paint store in the retail center. If all goes well, it could open as soon as mid-December, according to Erin Russ, who will oversee the café.

“We chose this location because its size was perfect, and it was close to home in an area that doesn’t feature many small, independent restaurants,” Erin Russ said.

“Our business model is based on the European café model,” Russ said. “We are creating a small, warm, and inviting space," where customers can "take a break from the busy world and enjoy a good meal, or some coffee and a sweet.”

Nutmeg Café will offer breakfast and lunch items as well as a variety of cookies, tarts, tortes, and pies throughout the day. The menu will include quiche; a breakfast sandwich of egg, sausage, and cheese on a house-made English muffin; yogurt parfait; panini sandwiches; salads; and house-made soups. Espresso-based coffee beverages, hot and cold teas, drip coffee, and bottled water and soda will be available, Russ said.

“We recognize that while COVID restrictions may cause us to initially limit our menu to those items which travel best in take- out, we look forward to growing and expanding our offerings as events allow,” Russ said.

Russ said her husband’s travel to Europe and other worldwide destinations through his work for a government contract company played a role in the couple’s decision to launch Nutmeg Café. She attended culinary school at the Connecticut Culinary School (now Lincoln Culinary) while the couple was living in Connecticut, and she also worked at an Italian restaurant there, developing and overseeing the restaurant’s fresh-pasta program.

“I made all the fresh pasta and stuffed pastas from scratch and developed recipes and menu items featuring these items,” Russ said. “It was a wonderful opportunity, and I was encouraged and mentored by some incredibly talented people.”

Her husband grew up in Cincinnati, and his job recently brought him back to southwest Ohio from Connecticut.

After the couple’s relocation to Washington Twp., Erin Russ worked for several months at Boosalis Café in the Cross Pointe Centre in Centerville prior to the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted her to review her life’s goals. With her husband’s encouragement, she decided to write up a business plan for Nutmeg Café “and make a dream a reality,” Russ said.

Nutmeg Café's hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Russ said she is looking to hire about four people prior to opening, including two baristas.

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