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Happy Badger supplies café with items from local farmers

The Happy Badger

Sarah Cohen has a passion for the organic, natural things in life. She even rides her bike to work at the Happy Badger Café where she is the co-owner.

The Happy Badger Café is a restaurant and grocery downtown, which specializes in local and organic foods as well as other items such as soaps, spices and balms.

When Cohen’s parents retired more than two years ago, the store went under a change from a clothing store and half-café to a full restaurant and grocery.

“When my parents retired and me and my brother [Ben Cohen] took over, our background was more in food,” Cohen said. “Once we took over transitioning owners, it just made more sense. It was a little more relevant to our [lifestyle].”

The two spend a lot of time visiting different farms in the area to supply the café. Happy Badger is stocked from local farmers around Northwest Ohio as well as having items shipped to the café from local, family-owned companies.

“It’s part of being a responsible business owner,” Cohen said. “[Having organic food] sets you apart. Being a smaller scale business, it’s easier to supplement your suppliers.”

Aside from being a restaurant, the café hosts local music events and open mic nights. Graduate student Amanda Curtis said she enjoys the Happy Badger because of the music as well as their food.

“They do a good job, I like that they do a lot of local stuff,” Curtis said. “The food is good and the people are nice.”

During the last open mic night a crowd of 30-50 people attended, Cohen said.

“Everyone stays the entire time,” Cohen said. “There are no distractions when you come to open mic night. It’s just about the music.”

Senior Julia Gourning said having the option to eat outside during the pleasant weather is an enjoyable feature of the café. While the price might be more than the average fast food restaurant, Gourning said it’s worth it for the quality.

“They do use organic and local [products] that could drive the price up, but I think it’s worth it because you’re eating something healthy,” she said. “It’s better than going to get fast food.”

As far as plans for the future, Cohen said she hopes to encourage students to come to the café to study because of the relaxed atmosphere and to change up their routines. She said she wants students to explore the city.

“Take the time to get out of campus and realize there doesn’t have to be a distinction between townies and student life,” Cohen said. “You’re there for so long on campus, why wouldn’t you want to explore your town?”

Overall, the Happy Badger is an alternative to the fast food lifestyle, Cohen said.

“We want to keep growing and to expose people to a more laid back food culture instead of just the eat-and-run [culture],” she said.

The next event the Happy Badger Café will be hosting is a free music show on July 3 at 7 p.m. in the restaurant’s parking lot.

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