From Cows to ConesJun 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Linda Roller
It’s only a few miles away from the bustling modern world, but the trip to the center of Salladasburg is also a step back in time. Never heard of Salladasburg? Well, Katherine Hepburn and other celebrities who summered there in the forties had. At the center of this small borough still sits a large building that was there then. A bright exterior of warm brick is flanked by a large parking lot. The sign out front says Waltz Creamery & Farm House Café, established 2015. Along the side of the building, another sign nods to this building’s former life and long tradition as the heartbeat of the community. Waltz’s Creamery reincarnates the old Cohick’s Trading Post—a fixture in these parts for ninety years.
“We kept the pictures, and we kept the sign. It’s important,” Rebekah Waltz explains. Even the sseats of the stools that Katherine Hepburn, James Cagney, and football great Red Grange sat on are mounted in the back room.
The Waltz family has transformed the Cohick site, but they are as much a part of this area as the old trading post. The Waltz dairy farm, founded in 1837 and in the Waltz family for eight generations, is four miles up the road. Currently Kyle Waltz and Justice Hunsberger—a son and a future son-in-law—are the farm managers.
The café feels as though Brian and Rebekah Waltz have brought the farmhouse kitchen and dining room down to town, made them just a little larger, but kept that homey, farm house feel—“a nice, happy place,” as Rebekah characterizes it.
That wasn’t easy. Initially, they thought it would take a couple of months to get the old trading post transformed into the café, but that time turned into almost a year. The building needed total renovation, and, as an older building, surprises awaited behind the walls.
“I wanted a small café. It turned into a large restaurant,” says Rebekah. The facility seats eighty-four in the front and eighty in the rear.
The tradition doesn’t end with the building or the renovations. The Waltz family is first and foremost a farming family, and from the start they chose to have everything as fresh and as close to the producers of the food as possible. In the beginning, they sold farm products. Now, all the pork, beef, bacon, and sausage served in the café comes from the Waltz farm. The eggs are either from their own chickens or purchased from the neighbors. The potatoes come directly from the local Hunsinger farm fields, where good frying potatoes are a specialty.
“We make everything from scratch—down to the croutons, all the pies, the baked goods, and all the sauces,” Rebekah continues. “The hamburgers here are made with an entire cow, so the meat is 89 percent lean. We use our fresh hams for our pulled pork, and they were raised on milk and corn. It costs more to do this, but it’s worth it.”
Doing everything from scratch created the first hurdle that the café’s owners had to overcome. This type of preparation and cooking takes time. At first, the customers coming through the doors were used to getting food fast. The wait seemed too long, and folks complained. But the Waltz family found ways to do their version of “farm to table” a bit faster and learned how to explain to hungry customers that homemade meals take time to prepare. The fresh, local food speaks for itself. When Brian and Rebekah opened, they were doing thirty breakfasts a day. Now, the family makes almost 300 breakfasts on a Saturday.
Another tradition from the Cohick Trading Post days was homemade ice cream, and who better to make it than dairy farmers? Choose from a dozen or more flavors, with half-gallon containers ready to take home. They rotate flavors and have a selection of seasonal specials. On Sunday, the café only serves ice cream in the afternoon, which is a perfect stop on a Sunday drive.
“Right now, the cream for the ice cream is purchased from a regional farm,” Rebekah explains. “But we are looking to install the processing equipment at our own farm, so that our cream is used.” Starting in June, people with a yen for some great local ice cream will have another option. Waltz’s will be opening an ice cream shop in 220 Eatery Plaza (the former Harvest Moon location) on Route 220 near Linden. Levi Waltz, one of Brian and Rebekah’s sons, will manage the new location. The menu is soft serve, their famous hand-dipped ice cream, shakes, sundaes, banana splits, and blasts (ice cream with treats mixed in).
“It will have everything to do with ice cream,” Rebekah adds.
All of this can’t happen without a team. For the Waltzes, that team is family. Brian and Rebekah run the café, with the help of Levi, Jeanette, and Brian’s mother, Kathy. Marvin Waltz, Brian’s father, picks up the meat processed from Mark’s Custom Meats in Howard or at George Farms in Danville. Going from farm to table is hard work and the hours are long. But this family is doing their part to feed their corner of the world, a responsibility they carry out with serious and delicious intent.
Waltz Creamery and Farm House Café is located at 324 Main Street, Salladasburg along Route 973, one mile east of the intersection with Route 287. Hours are Monday through Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for ice cream only. Find them on Facebook or call (570) 865-6557.