Photography by Joshua Mcfarquhar
With a little over a year since its grand opening and surviving the 2020 pandemic shutdowns, Good Thyme remains confident in their concept as they serve loyal Lakelander customers.
They say every great business idea begins with finding a solution to a problem or answering the request for a need, and that’s exactly what the creators of Cob & Pen decided to do in Lakeland when conceptualizing Good Thyme.Located in Dixieland right behind Concord Coffee, Good Thyme is known for their eclectic menu and fast-casual restaurant concept consisting of healthier breakfast and lunch options in addition to comfort food. The menu combinations at Good Thyme seem to surprise customers at first glance, but Jason Ellis, one of the owners of Cob & Pen and Rec Room has a method to the madness.
Lakeland’s food scene was missing a local fast-casual concept offering healthy, affordable, and fulfilling meals. Ellis and his team were ready for the challenge to give Lakelanders what they’ve been asking for.
“We first noticed the trend on social media. Lakelanders were talking about opting for healthier fast-casual dining experiences when visiting Tampa and Orlando. At that time, these options were non-existent in Lakeland,” says Ellis.
After a few weeks of identity work for the Good Thyme brand, Ellis and his team of chefs, Matt Flowers and Amber Davis, developed the menu for Lakelanders seeking a fast-casual dining experience with both healthy options and comfort food. The goal was to offer fast-casual, fresh, healthy meals and not turn away the friend who is looking for comfort food made with high-quality ingredients, like their famous fried-chicken sandwich or pork tacos. “The menu is small and eclectic, but there is something for everyone,” says Ellis.
“We look forward to providing our guests with our small but intentional menu for all to enjoy, and look forward to continuing sharing our dining areas and spaces with Concord Coffee. They have been so supportive of us and Good Thyme.”
According to industry experts, fast-casual dining is the most popular and fastest-growing segment of the restaurant industry, especially amongst millennials. Within the restaurant industry, the “term fast-casual” is a hybrid of fast food and casual-dining restaurants. This specific model still falls under the larger umbrella category of Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) but does not typically have drive-through service. Fast-casual restaurants offer more customized, freshly prepared and high-quality food than traditional QSRs, with meals ranging between $9 and $15.
Good Thyme’s menu is divided into two sections: Breakfast Stacks or Bowls, and Lunch Stacks or Bowls, with a small, in-between menu served from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
In the Breakfast Stacks menu, you can start your day with a fluffy, flaky vegan biscuit offered in a variety of ways: choose from a plain biscuit with your choice of jam and/or butter, an egg-and-cheese biscuit sandwich, or perhaps opt for a little comfort to kick off the day with a hearty, crispy, fried-chicken sandwich. If you’re in the mood for something more refreshing and on the lighter side, you can begin your day with a breakfast Yogurt & Granola Bowl, featuring house-made Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, blackberry jam, chia seeds, and Florida honey. The breakfast Power Bowl is designed to give you a little boost first thing in the morning, made with root vegetables, onions, mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, tamari, two sunny-side-up eggs, a side of hot sauce, and your choice of city ham, house chorizo, bacon, or house-made seitan.
The Lunch Stacks menu offers a variety of choices. “We want people to plan work lunches and find a carefully crafted menu with both light and hearty options. Everyone likes to enjoy food differently, and that’s okay; they can still have lunch together,” says Ellis.
You will find an option for a meatball sub, a chicken sandwich (grilled or fried), and tacos (pork and vegan). The fried-chicken sandwich is a customer favorite, featuring sweet-heat pickles, honey mustard, and brioche roll. The tacos are simple yet flavorful made with carnitas, cotija, red salsa, fresh jalapeno, and cilantro served over corn tortillas.
In the Lunch Bowls section, you can pick from four different types of salads and two Asian-inspired bowls of which are some of Good Thyme’s best sellers. The Stir Fry is a gluten-free and vegan bowl made with cauliflower rice, onions, carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, peas, and fresh ginger. If you’re a sushi aficionado, the POKÉ bowl is calling your name; it’s prepared with marinated tuna, grilled pineapple, cucumber, sticky rice, wasabi mayo, roasted cashews, and wonton strips.
In addition, the menu accommodates certain dietary restrictions such as gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian. With this specialty focus, Ellis and the team hope to expand their business into more catering opportunities for business breakfasts, lunches, and gatherings.
There have been a few restaurants to come and go from this building, says Ellis, but he feels good about the team in place and is extremely thankful for Flowers’ and Davis’ dedication to the brand and the menu.
A thorough understanding of the building’s shape and limited ability to accommodate a build-your-own menu style was pivotal to the success of Good Thyme and creating a concept that works for them. “We look forward to providing our guests with our small but intentional menu for all to enjoy, and we look forward to continuing sharing our seating areas and spaces with Concord Coffee. They have been so supportive of Good Thyme,” says Ellis.
1037 Dixieland Mall Lane
Lakeland, FL 33803