Young couple finds success in Lebanon restaurant

Levi and Bethany Deaton opened The Fig Tree Cafe two years ago.
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Everyone, at one time or another, have thought "I would really like to do that." For most of us, it is a fleeting thought, then we move on with our lives.

But for one young couple in Lebanon, they had an idea and they had the follow through to make it happen.

Like most Indiana communities, Lebanon finds itself in a time of transition. Amidst long-established businesses, you see for sale and for rent signs indicating vacancies. For the Deatons, that was an opportunity.

"People were kind of saying 'We are in the middle of a recession and you want to start a business?' We felt it was the right thing. There was a niche and a market, so we went for it and it's been really good," said Bethany Deaton.

"I thought it was crazy at first. I thought, 'Can we do this?'," said Levi Deaton.

"I had to talk him into it," Bethany said.

"I love it and wouldn't trade it for the world," Levi said.

So the couple, who have been married for six years come January, have owned their own business - The Fig Tree Cafe - for two. Levi, 28, works the kitchen. Bethany, 26, who is gluten intolerant, works the front of their gluten-free restaurant.

"I make everything here. All the soups, all the dressings. I make all the sauces for the sandwiches. I make all the baked goods and so I have to make sure it's good, so everything is gluten-free," Bethany said.

The two will tell you they enjoy their experiment. Levi also works nights at UPS to help make ends meet, but these two are wise well beyond their years. Not only did they recognize a need, they recognized their own limitations.

"You struggle that first year, you really do. We would go days with just two people coming in, so it was really important we not risk anything. We are risking it by going out there, but we bought everything with cash," said Bethany.

They used the "pay as you go" philosophy and when they did buy, they bought used.

"If we have a slow day or slow week it's ok and it makes it a lot more fun because it takes away that stress. That stress of 'We have to make so much.' We just have fun with the job," Bethany said.

Fun with sandwiches like "Gettin Piggy With It," "The Angry Turkey," and "My Big Fat Greek Sandwich."

"Or, if it's named after somebody like 'The Preacherman,' my dad is a preacher and he likes food and he eats a lot of meat like me, so that is a big sandwich with three kinds of meat on it, so we named it after him," Bethany said.

The Deatons say they have found more than a business, they've found each other.

"The most fun for us is being able to work with him. It's been really good for our marriage. We've gotten a lot closer and we get along a lot better. I couldn't imagine a better partner," Bethany said.

And when they get home, it's Bethany who cooks dinner.

"You know, I still like to do it, too. I love cooking dinner," she said.