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MILL 72 BAKE SHOP & CAFÉ: It’s A Family Affair

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Originally published in the September 2020 issue of LCM

Mill 72 offers a unique blend of coffee, baked goods and casual fare in a comfortable setting. The downtown Manheim café, which opened in February 2019, is owned and operated by the Miller family – Brian and Melanie and their daughters Taylor, Morgan, McKayla and Payton.

The Millers (left to right), McKayla, Melanie, Brian, Taylor, Morgan and Payton.

The bake shop and café not only takes its name from its owners’ last name and the fact that it’s located on Route 72, but it also serves as a nod to Melanie’s family history of owning and working in a mill that produced cornmeal.

Melanie is the café’s general manager. “The thought of opening a bakery has always been at the back of my mind,” she explains. “The neat thing about doing this as a family is that each member has something to contribute.” She adds: “It’s brought us closer as a family.”

Seasonal ingredients are utilized; during the summer, the menu featured a salad that was topped with fresh strawberries.

Brian’s expertise as an engineer – he’s with ELA Group in Lititz – helped with the permitting process that was required ahead of the café’s opening, as well as the design and construction of the café.

Morgan, Taylor and McKayla are all graduates of Manheim Central High School. Payton is a freshman at the school. Morgan, who is also a graduate of Lancaster County Career & Technology Center’s baking and pastry arts programs, is the baker/kitchen manager; she tests and refines the recipes for Mill 72’s menu. “Mom grew up baking, so as a family we baked, too. We made cupcakes a lot,” she says.

Sweet treats are a Mill 72 specialty.

Taylor, who is an alumni of LCCTC’s cosmetology program also works in a local salon and does wedding styles. She contributes to the family enterprise by handling Mill 72’s social media. McKayla, who graduated in June, helps with tech issues, while Payton works alongside her sisters in the café.

Mill 72 is located in the REO Manheim Marketplace, which is also the home of the Prussian Street Arcade, where you’ll find more than 100 “shops” specializing in vintage and handmade items. The complex is being redeveloped by Staudt McGovern Holdings, LLC. Many remember the facility as the home of Bickel’s snack foods, which was launched by Luther Bickel in 1954 (it moved from Lancaster to Manheim in 1963) and was purchased by Hanover Foods Corporation in 1998.

A best-seller: Turkey BLT.

REO pays tribute to the building’s heritage as an REO (Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile) auto/truck dealership that was founded by E.S. Zimmerman in 1907 and was later purchased by J. Harvey Spahr. Mill 72 is located in what was once the dealership’s showroom.

The light-filled café is distinguished by original maple floors that have been refinished. The main room features counter seating in front of large display windows that front onto Main Street. Additional seating can be found at tables and a large central high-top. Another room provides a casual seating area by a fireplace. Seating is also available in an outdoor courtyard. WiFi and USB ports are available throughout the café. “This is a space where you can connect, unwind and enjoy delicious food,” Melanie says.

The menu features family favorites made with locally sourced ingredients. Baked goods and pastries fill a display case. Coffee drinks are prepared using Gerhart coffees; a special blend was crafted exclusively for Mill 72. (There are plenty of other choices for non-coffee drinkers.)

Breakfast and lunch are served all day. The breakfast menu includes items such as baked oatmeal, bagels, quiche and yogurt parfaits. “People call ahead to make sure we have them available and will ask us to put one back for them,” Melanie says of the parfaits that are made with natural ingredients (as well as a secret ingredient). The breakfast sandwich (served as a wrap or on a choice of bread), which is composed of eggs and cheese (bacon, sausage or ham can be added), is also a popular choice.

The lunch menu features salads, soups and sandwiches. A top seller is the turkey BLT. A roast beef sandwich was added to the menu over the summer for those seeking a more robust sandwich. A kid’s menu includes items such as grilled cheese and PB&J.

Salad offerings include BBQ chicken salad and That Good Salad, which is made from a family recipe, and features chopped romaine lettuce topped with tomatoes, bacon, shredded parmesan and a house-made dressing. “I loved this salad. We didn’t really have a name for it, so it was always called ‘that good salad,’” Melanie notes.

Mill 72 makes its home in the REO Manheim Marketplace.

The bakery case is filled with sweet treats including pies, brownies, macarons, cookies, cupcakes, tandy kakes and rice crispy rolls. Grandma Donna’s lemon bars are made using a family recipe. Melanie’s dad loved lemon, so the lemon bars became her mom’s signature dessert. “I often hear customers say they’re like the ones their grandmas made,” she says.

Earlier this year, Mill 72 launched an app for online ordering. Customers may place their orders and pick them up from a shelf that is located across from the counter.

Mill 72 is located at 45 N. Main St., Manheim. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 717-879-9575 or visit mill72.com and Facebook.

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