It was in April of 2015 that I had the joy of first interviewing Kelli Minyard and her brother, Jordan Anderson, co-owners of Sweet Thymes Bakery and Meals to Go. Sweet Thymes is located at 407 North Clinton Street, just south of Persell Lumber. They opened for business in October 2014, and just celebrated their second anniversary by having a booth at the 50th Fiddlers’ Convention.
Kelli and Jordan, with the help of friends and family, converted what had once been a crack house near the railroad tracks in Athens into a most pleasant eatery. Since that time their business has grown for what I think are two reasons: they are just as committed to doing well as they are to doing good. The result is that they are “busy and blessed.”
What do I mean by “doing well and doing good?” “Doing well” means working hard, building your clientele base, finding out what people want and need, and providing it for them. “Doing good” means the ways you give back, and the heart you have to strengthen your community. Sweet Thymes does both, and their crew helps them. They have worked hard to fix up the building, and you would never know that it was once used for purposes that were far less than honorable.
The day I was in the shop for the interview, a customer came in whose spouse is in the thick of a battle with cancer. Kelli told me, “Our food is one of the few things that tastes good to him because of the chemo.” I know for a fact that Kelli understands that the first ingredient of anything she makes for her customers has to be love, and making food for this family that is going through such a tough time is making a difference.
Word has gotten around, and many businesses in town have Sweet Thymes do their lunches. If the order is at least $40, they will even deliver if it’s in the immediate Athens area. Below is an example of a recent menu, which change daily and are posted on Facebook, along with the phone number to call in the order:
Baked Ham Sub or Plate
Honey Pecan Chicken
Greek Chicken Pasta w/ cherry tomatoes, spinach, & basil
Greek Grilled Chicken
Taco Chicken Quesadilla
Wrap w/ toppings choice
Spinach Salad with choice of toppings and/or meat (extra charge)
Loaded Grits Casserole
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Brown Sugar Bourbon Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Squash & Onions
Cheese, Mushrooms, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Bell Peppers, Bacon, Pepperoncini Peppers, Pickles, Jalapeno Peppers, Banana Peppers.
Dressings: Sriracha Ranch, Blue Cheese, or our Homemade Ranch.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
Peach Pretzel Salad
Wedge Salad (cheese, bacon crumbles, and choice of herbed ranch or blue cheese dressing)
Herb and Cheese Biscuits
Roasted Peanuts (gallon bag $5)
Sweet or Unsweet Tea
I had the honey pecan chicken, the squash and onions, and the garlic mashed potatoes. Oh, I never wanted it to end. I sat outside at the picnic table, and enjoyed the morning glories that were growing on the fence. And then reluctantly I went back to work.
One of the things that makes the food so good is that Jordan grows the herbs right there on site. Kelli told me recently that they heard from a customer that “she could taste the fresh herbs, and it made all the difference.”
The catering side of Sweet Thymes has really taken off. They have done wedding receptions at Athens State, Rotary lunches, proms, showers, retirement parties, and more. Here is a comment from a satisfied customer:
Catered my son’s Thanksgiving party at school and everything was so organized! Everyone’s plate had their name on it they even sent an extra plate of food just in case we needed it! Plenty of sauces and utensils included!! I heard so many comments through out the party at how amazing the food tasted! We were all blown away!
Speaking of Thanksgiving and the holidays, orders are beginning to pour in. Kelli will be making everything from cakes and pies to turkeys and hams to what she calls “full on meals.” Remember, everything is made from scratch and with love, and you will have a sweet time enjoying the fare of Sweet Thymes Bakery and Meals to go.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner