Monday, February 11, 2013

Powell Gardens' Cafe Thyme has a new culinary team

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Something new is blooming in Cafe Thymes kitchen at Powell Gardens.
  • flickr/cariliv
  • Something new is blooming in Cafe Thyme's kitchen at Powell Gardens.

It was big news last year when chef-restaurateur Michael Foust of the Farmhouse announced that he was taking over the food-service contract for Cafe Thyme, the facility at Powell Gardens. Until that point, Cafe Thyme was notorious for serving overpriced, less-than-mediocre cuisine. The food at the popular botanical garden in Kingsville improved dramatically under Foust's creative direction, but the culinary liaison lasted only a year.

Brenda Nelson
  • Brenda Nelson
"I really enjoyed working with Wendy Powell and was honored to be a part of the Cafe Thyme project," Foust says, "but I decided not to renew my contract with them. I felt I was losing focus on what I was trying to do at the Farmhouse and was getting off-track. The 45-minute drive just to get there was wearing me out. Trying to run two restaurants, I just didn't feel that it was working."

A former employee of Foust's, Brenda Nelson, and two partners, Eddie Osborne and Guy Campbell, have created a limited liability company, Darn Good Food LLC. They have signed a contract to operate the food service at Cafe Thyme. They'll have a grand opening March 1 and are already taking reservations for Easter brunch and Mother's Day brunch.

Nelson, a former actress and, currently, a massage therapist, is a veteran restaurant manager. She says her partners, Osborne and Campbell, both owned restaurants in Warrensburg.

"We're doing something unusual on our opening weekend, March 2 and 3," Nelson says. "We're going to do a one-time event called 'Karma Cafe' to encourage people to come out and sample our food. For that weekend, we'll offer food on an honor system. After that, we'll be offering our dishes at regular prices!"

Nelson says that under the new Darn Good Food management, they'll offer a limited menu of soups, sandwiches and salads for the first two weekends and expand the menu through the spring and summer season.

"We'll be serving home-style dishes," she says, "like beans with cornbread, fresh soups, and offering a pasta station. We will definitely be serving a Sunday brunch every Sunday, serving things like sweet-potato hash."

Beginning in March, Cafe Thyme will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

"We're taking reservations for Easter brunch and Mother's Day brunch now," Nelson says. "We'll have two seatings on both those days, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m."

For reservations, call 816-697-2600.

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