Lauren Talbert shows off a beet salad, one of the popular dishes at the food truck/restaurant hybrid Wildflour.

FAIRMONT – The idea to start a food truck had been in Lauren Talbert’s head since 2016.

Once she got the idea off the ground in 2018 with Wildflour, Talbert continued the family tradition of restaurant ownership. She is now the fourth generation in her lineage to continue the tradition.

“(Mom’s) grandparents had a restaurant in Fairmont for years,” said Talbert, co-owner of Wildflour. “Then my grandma did, and now us.”

Wildflour officially went on the road in May of last year, but the risk of inconsistency present in the business of food trucks caused the family to move from the road to a restaurant. The restaurant is now located at 1523 Mary Lou Retton Dr. in Fairmont.

“We had a hard time finding places to consistently park,” Talbert said. “We figured out all the issues of food trucking which is weather and people not being able to count on you always being in the same spot.”

Now, the restaurant has a consistent location complete with a kitchen and a seating area, but the truck side of the business has not gone away. The owners now use the truck as a storage space right near the restaurant, and still have the opportunity to take it on the road if they need.

“We decided to be stationary,” said Dana Garlow, co-owner of Wildflour and Talbert’s mother. “We can move it if we wanted, but the other thing now is we are a little bit dependent on some of the equipment in there, like the stove, some of the refrigerator storage.”

While the business of Wildflour has been in two different forms already, the idea of its food has been a consistent aspect throughout. Talbert, who is the main chef at Wildflour, said she is following her family heritage of a mix of German and southern culture to provide dishes that are both tasty and healthy.

“We love southern comfort food because that’s like what our family does,” Talbert said. “We kind of lean towards the healthier side... I did a school project on that, about opening a restaurant that had dairy-free, gluten-free options, vegan options, vegetarian options, just something where everybody could come in and get something.

“But also meat and potato kind of stuff because we like home cooked meals.”

Garlow added that, in addition to catering to the more health-conscious individuals, Wildflour is aimed at having options for all ages as well, with baked items kids could enjoy. Talbert also said she hopes to implement local artisan works, which are already present at the restaurant in the form of stickers and buttons.

“We just have kind of a funky, eclectic vibe,” Talbert said. “A lot of people that we vended with alongside with the food truck were artisans. We met up with a lot of them and are trying to get a lot of their products in here whether it’s artwork or body lotions. 

Talbert said that cooperation with other local artisans is what had helped the restaurant when it was in the form of a food truck, because they gave the owners a base — and sometimes even a place to park.

“We’re working on getting more retail and being able to showcase local businesses and artisans,” Talbert said. “That’s where we find our support is with all the other local businesses.”

On the side of food, Talbert said some of the Wildflour specials include unique salads,  wraps, seafood and even muffins which Garlow had a role in creating. Talbert said a lot of the food served at Wildflour is cooked in iron skillets on convection stoves.

“I had never cooked a muffin until I walked into this place, and I have made three really cool muffins,” Garlow said. “We’re not trying to compete with other restaurants, we’re just trying to offer something different.”

Having a stable space where they can make and serve food, Talbert said she wants to grow the menu at the restaurant and even hold community events in the deck area outside. Most of all, Talbert wants to give people a familiar taste with a new different spin.

“We’re able to offer more here,” Talbert said. “We kind of do stuff that’s kind of what people are used to but a little different so they’re not scared to try it.”

Going on into the fourth generation of restaurant ownership, Garlow recalled Talbert’s early days in the kitchen as a kid, when she got her start in cooking.

“She just loved being in the kitchen,” Garlow said. “I would let her in the kitchen all the time and say ‘I’ll wash all your dishes if you can cook dinner.’”

Wildflour is located at 1523 Mary Lou Retton Dr. in Fairmont, and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information on the restaurant, visit its Facebook page, or call in at 681-404-6442.

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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