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Offering something for everyone day and night

Moxie is home to a coffee shop, wine cafe, catering business and a prepared meal service

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October 17, 2023

PLYMOUTH – A handful of years ago, Ronna and Patrick O’Toole – a duo of self-proclaimed foodies – said when their dream of purchasing The Fig and The Pheasant – a small hotel and restaurant in Plymouth, which they spent three years building up – didn’t quite work out, they pivoted and decided to take a new approach.

The duo moved the business and its staff across the street to a historic former bank building (301 E. Mill St.) and opened Moxie Coffee, Cafe and Catering.

“We named it Moxie because it took a lot of moxie to open up a new place during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ronna said. “We also wanted something fun and funky. We’re trying to do things that are cool and different.”

By day, Moxie is filled with the smells of fresh-brewed Valentine coffee and baked goods.

“We have a cold brew that drips and takes about 24 hours to make a pot of that coffee, which people absolutely love,” Patrick said. “Our chefs work hard creating the deli case every day and all of the fresh pastries that are baked. It’s a cool vibe in Moxie.”

At night, Patrick said the coffee and pastries are replaced with flickering candles and clinking glasses at the wine cafe.

“You would not even think you are in the same place as our coffee shop during the day,” Ronna said.

Moxie chefs offer wine and tasting pairings called Moxie Bites.

“You can get pâté and terrines and cured meats, all of the way up to duck confit tarts that have shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese sauce,” he said. “Some of it is incredibly elegant, like we used to do at The Fig and The Pheasant, and others are totally rustic and fun, completely tasty.”

Coupled with its catering and meal pick-up services, Patrick said Moxie has something for everyone.

With purple- and blue-colored walls, the space is adorned throughout with chalkboard sign art, painted furniture and vintage sofas and chairs.

Ronna said features, such as the bank vault with its iron gate, high ceilings and large windows, emphasize the 1906 vintage of the building. 

Moxie Coffee, Cafe and Catering is located at 301 E. Mill St. in Plymouth. The former bank building dates back to 1906. Submitted Photo

A history, which the Moxie building shares with many others throughout the area.

Ronna said its architect, Charles Hilpertshauser (1861-1910), designed more than 300 buildings in Sheboygan County, including the building that housed The Fig and The Pheasant.

Shared love of culinary arts
The O’Tooles met in 1998 in Eureka, California, when both were applying for the same job in an upscale restaurant.

Patrick said he ultimately scored the job at Restaurant 301, but the two of them would go on to make a life in food together, living and cooking together in Norway, Dubai, Hong Kong, Nevis Island in the Caribbean, Kentucky and eventually Wisconsin.

Patrick said they ended up in Plymouth in 2017 when he landed a position as culinary director at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. 

By then, they had two children, and Ronna said she was ready to return to the small-town way of life to raise their family.

“We’ve lived in a lot of places,” she said. “We chose Plymouth because it’s so great. We want to be part of this community, participate in it rather than take it by storm.”

At Moxie, Ronna said it is important to them that their employees be part of the community and people get to know them. 

“When it comes to what we’re doing overall and what we’re looking for in staff, we want people who are kind, confident, happy people who are generous and focus on the guests – good people who will add to the experience of the good food and wine,” she said. 

More important than creating history, Patrick said at Moxie, “we’re creating a vibe that’s welcoming and super fun for many different people.”

The pivot point
The pandemic, Ronna said, shifted the way people do many things – which opened opportunities for business avenues to fulfill the new trends.

Enter Moxie Meals.

Ronna said she and Chef Stephanie Broughton came up with the idea of offering meals that are pre-made and simply require reheating.

“People are able to get great food on their table with minimal work and reasonably priced,” Patrick said.

Ronna O’Toole said Moxie chefs prepare fresh-baked pastries for the coffee shop daily. Submitted Photo

The team creates a weekly Moxie Meal menu, which it publishes a week ahead of time.

Customers place their orders by Tuesday for pickup Thursday through Sunday. 

It’s a set meal with an entree and two sides – usually a starch and a vegetable.

Each meal, Patrick said, also includes optional a la carte accompaniments – so guests are free to order as much or as little as they want to customize their order.

A recent example of a Moxie Meal, Patrick said, was an enchilada casserole layered with corn tortillas, shredded pork, salsa and cheese, served with Spanish rice and fajita vegetables.

Optional add-ons included watermelon salad with cucumber, cotija cheese and mint, Mexican cornbread, Mexican wedding cookies and cinnamon churro bread pudding.

Another week, he said, it was Moroccan lamb stew with couscous and roasted eggplant – as well as a mixed green salad with roasted chickpeas, dates and harissa yogurt dressing; Za’atar flatbread; almond crescent cookies and honey cake with rosemary and figs as optional add-ons.

Ronna said meals – which come in oven-ready foil containers with heating instructions – come as double servings with one order serving two people.

“They call in an order, pick it up and put it in the oven,” she said. “Moxie Meals is our way of giving back to the community and being involved with people.”

Ronna said some Moxie Meals customers order them for when they’re entertaining.

“Maybe they have four to six people, so they order two to three of those meals, and then they don’t have to cook for their own dinner party,” she said.

Moxie’s, Patrick said, has also been getting orders from busy parents, who swing by and pick up their meal on their way home.

“There’s little cleanup, and the flavors are awesome,” he said. “You can put on a pretty elaborate feast for dinner for two, which will give you leftovers… It feels like they are going out to a restaurant, but it’s not as expensive as that.”

Patrick O’Toole said each Moxie Meal includes an entree and two sides for two people. Submitted Photo

Each meal, Patrick said, also includes a recommendation for an accompanying wine – which is 10% off with meal purchases.

With the first two levels of sommelier training under his belt and on his way to Level 3, Patrick said launching the Moxie Wine Club – another offering at Moxie – made sense.

Those enrolled in the club get two whites and two reds every other month. 

“They come in and pick up their wines…,” he said. “They (also) get free samples of different wines that are new to us.”

The O’Tooles kept the name, The Fig and The Pheasant, as its corporate name and the name they use with its catering work. 

Ronna said they’re proud of the reputation they built with The Fig and The Pheasant.

“We worked hard to make that reputation so good,” she said. “We still keep (the name) so people would know that quality food and chefs run it.”

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