Karla Mobley and Patty Caswell have been best friends for over 17 years. Between raising kids and keeping the hubbies happy, they spent a lot of time in the kitchen working on what tasted good, what dishes really brought a smile to people's faces...and they discovered they were pretty good at it too.
Retiring from years in food service may mean to some that all that kitchen time is put to the side and living on take-out is the way to go, but not these two. Karla grew up in Savannah and knows what is popular down south. Patty hails from Missouri, not so far away — when her husband retired from the military they decided to move back here where her parents live.
So, what do you do when the kids have vacated the nest, and you have so much time on your hands, those same hands that kept busy for so long making meals and changing diapers?
As Patty tells me, "We're just two grandmas who are not getting any younger and we decided to do something we always wanted to do. We both love to cook, and we wanted to open a neighborhood café where people could gather, be comfortable, eat good food at good prices, browse the Internet, study, read, relax."
No interior designers needed, the two ladies decided on a soft, comforting sage green for the walls, mismatched but tidy table and chair sets, paintings dug up from artistic relatives and fun garage-sale trips, and a touch of exotica to spice things up—check out that lovely wall hanging made of old saris from India.
Oh, yes, and "NO paper plates and plastic cutlery here!" says Patty. The plates are heavy Fiesta-ware types in bright colors, good-quality sturdy cutlery and cute additions like the little pitchers for the cream with your coffee!
Friendly service, a handful of delicious baked goods that changes weekly, breads that are baked fresh daily, home-grown specials that are fast becoming favorites, like baked spaghetti or the wildly popular Sloppy Joes, Karla's favorite chicken salad available by the pint (as well as on sandwiches) and a few favorites like Red Velvet, Carrot cake, real butter Pound cake, Triple Chocolate, Cranberry-Orange and Caramel cake make up a tempting selection for desserts.
One of my faves is the very rich Crème-de-Menthe iced brownie —perfect with a hot cup of coffee and cream from that little pitcher. My daughter likes their lemon squares—plenty of sweet delights to choose from here.
And what about the food? "We fix food that we like to eat ourselves!" says Patty. Good sandwiches and paninis, fresh salads, a good pasta salad with olive oil and pesto (instead of drenched in mayo), tuna salad and chicken salad — choose hot or cold and pick your cheese.
The sliced turkey with Havarti-Dill cheese is quite tasty — it started out cold, as ordered, but when I see my friend's Hot Roast Beef Panini, I ask for my sandwich to be put into the press as well, and Karla kindly obliges.
Breakfast here is light and easy to carry out, like their baked croissants, muffins with honey butter, and Morning Pocket with ham, cheddar and scrambled egg stuffed in a toasted pita. Bring in your laptop and take advantage of the free wi-fi, have a light and tasty lunch or a cuppa joe with a banana nut muffin while you study.
Patty and Karla are happy to continue their family tradition of good, simple food served with warm heart, and make that special effort to help each customer feel welcomed and at home. What else could one ask from two grandmas on a mission?
Kapa Café, 1514 Bull St., 344-4828