By Kevin Collison
It’s a big transition from the gentle hills outside Weston to the post-industrial vibe of the East Crossroads, but Sarah Hoffman believes her hospitality and green approach to making cheese will find a great second home there.
It also helps to have a lot of microbreweries and craft distillers in the new neighborhood where she plans to open her Green Dirt Farm café, shop and cheese production facility later this year.
“They need cheese to partner with beer,” Hoffman said about her second location.
“I found the East Crossroads appropriate because there’s so much happening in that part of Kansas City that’s bringing in people to enjoy the urban atmosphere,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunities to partner well with the small businesses already there.”
Hoffman started Green Dirt Farm in 2008 with a holistic approach to making cheese at her sheep dairy.
“We’re a small, grass-based artisanal cheese maker,” she said.
“That fact is important, it forms the foundation of what we’re trying to do. We make truly fantastic cheese that takes care of the soil on our farm.”
She’s also a savvy businesswoman.
In 2016, Green Dirt opened a café and shop to help increase its revenue stream and become more financially sustainable as well as being ecologically sound.
Which leads her to the decision to open a city outlet at 1601 Oak in the East Crossroads.
“We’ve been trying to grow and create more cheese,” she said. “We’ve been bursting at the seams with our kitchen in Weston and looking to expand production and get a place with more foot traffic.”
Kansas City customers also were urging Hoffman to open something closer.
After looking in North Kansas City, the West Bottoms and Johnson County, she found the right spot in a former Volkswagen repair shop at 16th and Oak.
The plan calls for cheese production, hard and fresh, to occur in the back of the first floor with the restaurant and shop to be located in the front.
“The (café) space will probably have windows to see what’s going on and upstairs we’ll have event space,” she said. “We also hope to have a rooftop deck.”
The café will seat about 70 people and will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The executive chef will be Oscar Arevalo. Green Dirt also will have a full bar, and wine and beer.
Like many new businesses, the Green Dirt plan is going through the hurdles of supply chain issues and obtaining the necessary permits from City Hall, but Hoffman is hopeful her new place will be open by late winter or early spring.
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