Eating healthy at The Kitchen in Monmouth

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Good things come from the small structure at 1343 S. Main in Monmouth, Illinois.

"Everybody says it's cute," said owner Linda Putnam.

"Cozy," added customer April Williams.

It's cute enough for The Kitchen.

Putnam is up and at 'em early each day. She makes favorites like Chicken Pot Pie and Tomato Basil Soup.

"How many pot pies do you have?" asked another customer.

"I have 14," Linda responded.

"We want five of them," the customer said.

It's made from scratch cooking with healthy recipes.

"It's fresh stuff," Putnam said. "It's stuff that people have worked hard to grow."

Philosophy that doesn't fall too far from her tomato vines.

"We use bees to pollinate," she said.

Hydroponic plants from their greenhouses. Fresh ingredients are just steps away.

"I get people that just come to look," Putnam said.

It's a longtime family flower business that's now blossoming into fresh food.

"I have lost 35 pounds since I've been doing this," Putnam said. "I was a fast food junkie."

"To go from flowers to food is amazing," added customer Jane Berg.

That homemade focus translates to healthy options. But these choices are colorful and tasty, not dull and boring.

"You don't find that kind of food around here," said customer Samantha Admire. "It's really nice that she made something of it."

"You know it's home cooked, made here and made with love," added customer Beth Terpening.

Spaces fill up fast with just six tables inside. This mom and pop cafe has local appeal. It's just the right flavor for Monmouth, population 9,500.

"We have a taste of home right here," said customer Donna Smith.

The comfortable, friendly atmosphere really hits the spot. Good cooking to create satisfying meals. That's pleasing customers from far and wide.

"We know what we're eating," said Williams, visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina. "To me, that's important."

Open since October 2012, The Kitchen is finding a home in Monmouth. There's a new attitude about fresh food.

"I've got new people that haven't been here before," Putnam concluded. "Word of mouth has been great."

The Kitchen is open from 7 to 5, Monday through Saturday.

For Linda Putnam, cooking up lots of good things from her small set-up.