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It’s a beautiful building: a classic brick mill with an oversize wooden door. Ivy clings to the walls and sunflowers and lilies line the walk. I appreciate Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Café as a visual relief from the standard landscape of modern stores along Highway 65 North in Harrison, but the fact that the restaurant, family owned and operated, serves up a community-oriented business model as well as delicious all-natural food turns my appreciation to admiration.
Many of their ingredients are acquired locally, such as the blueberries from Cline Berry Farm that are featured in their Summer Berry Salad. By using fresh locally grown produce, Neighbor’s Mill is able to patronize local businesses and also deliver more of the innate goodness of food to customers. Neighbor’s Mill even grinds their own grain for bread using an ancient gristmill, making them a mill not just in name alone.
Their slogan is “break bread with Neighbor’s,” a phrase that sounds both friendly and Biblical (their loaves of bread feature Bible verses and they’re closed Sundays). It’s also a play on the owners’ name: Nabors. Karin and Mike Nabors envisioned a restaurant in which they would create fresh bread from scratch, free from preservatives or artificial ingredients, intending that these incredible breads would help build sandwiches and go alongside soups and salads. They make over twenty-five breads, including sweet breads such as Raisin Cinnamon, and savory choices like Challah, Spinach Feta, Tomato Herb & Cheese (or as my brother-in-law Austin calls it, “tomato urban cheese”), and their most popular bread, Woodstock, a soft and chewy loaf that incorporates nine grains.
The breads do indeed make tasty sandwiches: Chipotle Turkey, Honey Pecan Chicken Salad, a French Dip, and many more. Half a cold sandwich can be paired with a cup of soup or a small salad to make a meal. On my first lunchtime visit to the charming establishment, it was raining. Inside Neighbor’s Mill, the entryway was crowded with dripping umbrellas, and I wrestled my own into place as I took in the warm aroma of fresh baked bread. A long line of wet and hungry customers snaked to the registers, with members of dining parties occasionally sent out as advance scouts to seize available tables. I wanted a dependable meal: a Classic Reuben sandwich with green tea and a Strawberry-Glazed Sugar Cookie. I ate the cookie first, and when my sandwich was brought to me, I pounced on it and shamefully forgot to take a picture. Suffice it to say, it was very good. In addition to sandwiches, the breads also make Unforgettable French Toast (from the Apple Cinnamon Almond loaf), croutons for salad, and bread pudding.
Now, I eat at Neighbor’s Mill with fortunate regularity. While waiting to order breakfast omelets, or meals of sandwiches, soups, and salad, diners can ogle baked treats such as Cinnamon Rolls, Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and slices of pie on display. Coffee, teas, and lattes pair well with these goodies. The coffee is made freshly roasted each week at Arkansan companies Mama Carmen’s and Mountain Bird and then carefully brewed at Neighbor’s Mill for optimal taste. Neighbor’s Mill is a convenient coffee stop, and their coffee drinks are enjoyed by all—during one of my visits, two little girls sipped small lattes and challenged each other to speak with a British accent. They were holding a table while their mother placed their order, and they cast covetous glances at my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin until their own food (flatbread pizzas) arrived.
Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Café is a delightful place to eat, a testimony brought by the hordes of people who wait in line to eat there and the fifteen stores throughout the Ozarks that sell loaves of Neighbor’s Mill bread. The opening of a second location in Springfield, Missouri this fall is appropriate as Neighbor’s Mill prepares to celebrate fifteen years of business on August 15. On that day, 15% of proceeds from sales will be donated to House of Hope and there will be live musical entertainment, making that a good time to “break bread with Neighbor’s.”
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