Freedom Cafe a la Cart in Downtown Columbus

Freedom a la Cart’s downtown cafe and bakery is the culmination of more than a decade of work supporting and empowering survivors of human trafficking through employment, resources and training. What started as a food cart grew into a lunch box and catering business before becoming a full-fledged cafe and bakery. And the verdict: the food is excellent.

The downtown cafe, which opened in the spring of 2021, is cozy and well-lit, with a small patio out front and a colorful mural decorating one of the exterior walls. A small but focused breakfast and lunch menu is complemented by freshly baked pastries and full coffee service.

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The culinary team has the ability to go beyond simple sandwiches and salads. See the rosemary breakfast sandwich, for example, featuring homemade rosemary-lemon sausage, soft-boiled eggs, provolone, lemon aioli and arugula on a fresh bun. Or the trout toast topped with smoked trout, creamy feta and a poached egg over pumpernickel. Even a simple and comforting grilled cheese sandwich gets the royal treatment with a blend of cheddar, goat and Swiss cheeses layered with sweet and tangy habanero-apricot jam on a crisp sourdough.

Continued:The story behind Freedom a la Cart’s new Downtown Café


On vocational training: In addition to providing an expanded kitchen for food services, Freedom a la Cart’s dedicated cafe space provides its employees with more on-the-job training opportunities. Little details like chalkboard signs showcasing your daily baristas and list of their favorite drinks continue to promote Freedom’s mission by reminding customers of the people behind it.

Do not judge me : One of Freedom’s signature sandwiches is named for Judge Paul Herbert, who founded CATCH Court, a longtime Freedom a la Cart partner. Meaning “Changing Actions to Change Habits,” CATCH is a Franklin County Municipal Court specialized registry designed to help survivors of human trafficking.

Meet the Chef: Behind much of Freedom a la Cart’s cafe and catering menus is Chef Laurie Sargent. His previous accomplishments include stints as a pastry chef at the New Albany Country Club and an instructor at the former Columbus Culinary Institute. Chef Sargent’s tips ensure the cafe’s menu continues its winning streak.

Freedom at the Cart Café + Bakery

123 E. Spring Street, Downtown


This story is from the February 2022 issue of Monthly Columbus.