GENEVA – Since she took ownership of Moveable Feast in Geneva last July, Monique Wallace has looked forward to growing the catering, bakery, take-out and retail shop, which has been a fixture on Franklin Street for 12 years.
For Wallace, her venture into the food business is the result of a dramatic career change, but it's one she's familiar with having grown up with parents and grandparents who are successful restauranteurs.
Wallace had been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and before that she had been in medical sales. She's a California native who moved to the Geneva area with her husband a few years ago, and she became familiar with Moveable Feast when she started using their kitchen to make her specialty peanut brittle.
Wallace found out the former owners wanted to make a change, and she decided that was the career path she wanted to pursue.
Even with a new owner, Moveable Feast still serves longtime favorites, including the turkey sandwich made with gruyere cheese and apple slices. The savory desserts, such as the signature fudge brownies – the one that graced Oprah Winfrey's "Favorite Things" list in 2005 – and signature Fairy Tale Cookies made with almond extract and topped with buttercream frosting, also remain on the menu.
Wallace said she looks forward to expanding on a solidly built foundation at Moveable Feast. For instance, she recently introduced homemade meals that are frozen and can be taken home, such as casseroles, soups and quiche. But other items, like the fried buttermilk chicken, dips, salads and soups, still can be purchased to dine in or take home. She said she's looking to expand gluten-free and dairy-free options, as well.
"We're sort of turning into a gourmet grocer, I think," she said.
And a new partnership is on the horizon with St. Charles-based Kimmer's Ice Cream. Wallace said the Fairy Tale Cookie and signature brownie will be incorporated into an ice cream flavor, and she plans to carry those Kimmer's Ice Cream flavors when the creation is complete.
Wallace added she hopes to expand the retail portion of the shop. She said she's travelled a lot to find unusual products for the store, such as spiced pecans from a company in Minnesota and goat milk caramels from Vermont.
"I purposely don't buy anything you can find nearby," she said. "I want people to experience things here they can't experience anywhere else."
Moveable Feast has 19 employees, including the caterers, and Wallace said many of them have been with the company for many years.
Terrylynn Strawn, retail manager at Moveable Feast, said she has stayed with the company for six years because she loves the staff and the food.
"We're all very close, like a family. It's a very happy place to be in all day long," she said. "I also love really good food, especially healthy food. I'm happy to be here."