THREE OAKS — The opening of Froehlich’s Kitchen & Pantry is the newest entry to Three Oaks’s downtown shopping district.

The new restaurant, retail and event space at 19 N. Elm St. held a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 8.

In front of her newly expanded kitchen, bakery, deli and gift store, Colleen Froehlich noted that many of those gathered on the sidewalk for the grand opening had watched her lay tile 27 years ago as she prepared to open her first shop just across the street.

“Back then, there were 24 vacant storefronts. Today, they are all full,” Froehlich said. The increased foot traffic and interest in farm-to-table dining, which Froehlich’s is known for, were contributors to her decision to expand.

After it officially opened June 17, the new main floor space with a “market vibe” combines an expansive open kitchen surrounded by a bright, lofty space for seating and serving, with a deli area offering carry-out sandwiches and salads.

The colorful retail area is stocked literally from floor to ceiling with a wide selection of homemade jellies and preserves and other food items surrounded by unique kitchen and home décor items. There is a separate, glassed-in beverage boutique featuring unique teas, beers, wines and other beverages.

The original store, at 26 N. Elm St., will be renamed Froehlich’s Bakery and offer breads, pies, pastries, unique desserts and special occasion cakes.

The lunch menu, to be served from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily except Wednesday, includes a selection of small plates and salads, including peanut noodle, Grandma Faye’s shrimp and potato salad, Froehlich’s Club Salad and a selection of fruits and nuts.

The main lunch selections include Froehlich’s Burger, shrimp po’ boy, adult grilled cheese, an After-School Ham “Sammy” and other selections.

Dinners will be served Sunday through Thursday, from 5-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m. The dinner menu, which has several takeout selections, includes a full selection of salads, an expanded small plates selection with a charcuterie board, lemon pepper shrimp and jalapeno poppers.

Main dinner features range from Biloxi boil, crispy pan spaghetti, righteous ribs, pork chops, flank and ribeye steaks, plus oven-baked fauxrotto, Colleen’s pickled chicken, corn meal-crusted fried catfish, and cedar plank Scottish salmon.

Desserts are made fresh daily in the bakery. One of the specialties is the fan favorite – OMG! chocolate cake – which has layers of ganache, chocolate cake and chocolate mousse.

Although Froehlich has applied for a full-service liquor license, it has been delayed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission because her husband was a Three Oaks police officer before recently resigning.

New to the Froehlich’s umbrella is the restored upstairs event and banquet space that seats up to 399 guests. It includes a bridal suite and catering kitchen. Newly sanded and varnished original wood flooring (and lots of it) contrasts with the refurbished brick walls and original windows beneath the antique tin ceiling tiles and open-ventilation system.

The space is accessed via a new, glassed-in wide staircase and elevator addition at the rear of the building which gives an expansive view of the original Featherbone Factory complex (now home to the Acorn Theatre, Journeyman Distillery and Staymaker Restaurant).

Froehlich bought the historic building and the package liquor license at 19 N. Elm St. three years ago from its previous owner, Ray Wojdula, who operated the Three Oaks Pharmacy there.

Originally, the building was a thriving department store founded in 1920 as part of the Featherbone complex that dominated Three Oaks. The store was later taken over by the Hunerjager family, which ran it for decades.

Froehlich said she could envision what she wanted from the first moment she toured the building. She admitted it had been a long journey that has included many surprises and delays along the way.

The phone number will remain 269-756-6002.