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Eatbeat: It's a 'Wonderful Life'

Wonderful Life Foods in Crookston as seen in 2017. Herald file photo1 / 2
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It opened quietly three years ago in downtown Crookston. The purpose was to serve people who need gluten free diets.

Lately, Wonderful Life Foods has become a favorite spot for lunch. It attracts the general public as well as those who need gluten free fare.

Wonderful Life Foods is a small café with a delightful seating area. Beyond, there is a shop where foods that fit into gluten free diets are sold.

"There are not a lot of options in our downtown," said Shawn Rezac, one of the owners. "We can make sandwiches up for everyone. We are really here to help people with food allergies and sensitivities.''

She said she and her business partner, Erin Brule, are friends. With their own needs for gluten free food, they felt they could prepare the same food to others.

To start their business on Main Street, they redecorated an old 1890s era building. There is an attractive entry room with five tables — each of a different style of tables and chairs.

Beyond the cozy dining area, the shop shows products for those with lactose intolerance. And it gives Wonderful Life Foods the space to store and display products as well as to do baking every day.

My companions on an Eatbeat adventure were Donna Gillig (DG), Susie Shaft (SS) and Barbara Knipe (BK). We approached the ordering counter tentatively and ended up with chicken corn chowder soup as well as sandwiches. There were Kettle brand potato chips with sea salt. We tried the pumpkin spice cupcakes that bring many of the customers into Wonderful Life Foods.

The coffee seemed very mild. The people all around were pleasant on a cold day.

Choices vary with baking going on every day at Wonderful Life Foods.

Generally speaking, DG and BK were pleased and SS was interested in our lunch at Wonderful Life Foods. It's an inviting, friendly place with some outstanding choices. Many customers, but not all, say they would come back.

The owner-operators have found there are many others who have gluten intolerance.

"More people than you would think," said Shawn Rezac.

The dining area is inviting with its large main windows looking out on Main Street. Customers order and make payments in the large kitchen area. And there is a tendency to roam around and visit with others.

The lunch room is painted in soft tones. And there is a large restroom softly lighted with green walls and black and white flooring. It sends the message that management cares. And there is a feeling of friendliness throughout Wonderful Life Foods.

Wonderful Life Foods

115 North Main Street

Crookston, MN.

Telephone: (218) 281-1125

Owner-operators: Erin Brule and Shawn Rezac

Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Report card: A food shop featuring gluten free fare that has been attracting a wide range of lunch customers. Pleasant seating area. Personalized service. A pleasant gathering place.