“If you see a fork in the road — take it,” Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once said.
There may soon be a new saying in the City of Emporia. “If you come to Fork in the Road — stop and get a delicious meal. That’s been the buzz the last few weeks about Connie Harrell’s new shop, Fork in the Road on 334 South Main St. Inside, you will find a florist and gift shop. You’ll also find signature sandwiches that are already bringing people in to check out. The reviews are of high praise.
“I came in last week and got a sandwich,” Beverly Hawthorne said. “It was perfect. It was more than I could eat in one meal, but it was wonderful. The tea was great. I don’t have anything but good things to say.”
Harrell’s lunch specials are familiar to many people in the area from her days as owner of Three Bears and a Tree on Halifax St. Harrell debated whether she would retire or start a new business. She described it as a fork in the road moment.
“You see what I chose,” she said. “That’s where the name Fork in the Road came from.”
On Friday, Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Rose and members of the EGCC came to the 6-week old business to host a celebratory ribbon cutting at the establishment. Emporia Vice Mayor Clifton Threat represented the City and officially cut the ribbon for Harrell.
The food is undoubtedly the centerpiece attraction for customers. Still, the floral and gift shop gives the business a unique distinction from similar establishments. Of course, you have the famous sandwiches you found in Three Bears and a Tree, but there is plenty more to grab customers’ attention. The Richland Dairy Ice Cream gives the establishment an ice cream shop feel — an ice cream shop with a restaurant, florist, and gift shop.
“We try to make it a hometown-friendly place, and everybody seems to enjoy themselves,” Harrell said. “Everybody and anybody are welcome, and I want everybody to come here and check us out.”
Checking out the new business is what George Seif and his wife Rosemary did after Harrell opened the doors to the establishment. They enjoyed the Three Bears and a Tree restaurant and were more than happy to see Harrell open a new business.
“This is a great place to eat and get together with friends,” George said.
Rosemary agreed wholeheartedly.
“I love coming here to eat lunch or to have ice cream,” she said. “It’s really good.”
The inside of the building is bright, colorful and there is a good vibe in the atmosphere. Harrell has the advantage of having a reputation for providing top-quality food for her customers. Still, she is starting a new business and believes it will take some time to steer it where she wants it to go.
“We’re hoping to get breakfast incorporated and maybe a little bit of dinner,” she said. “You’ve got to crawl before you can walk, and of course, there is a help issue. We have a hard time trying to find people who really want to work. Other than that, so far, so good.”
If the customer reviews for the business are any indication of what the future brings, Harrell’s late business venture will quickly be a hit in the Emporia-Greensville community. If you come up to Fork in the Road — stop and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.