Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2003

Wally’s Cafe fresh dining option

April 24, 2003

Wally and Dawn North re-learned a lesson in customer service during the last few weeks as they readied their new De Soto restaurant to open.

The couple had hoped the restaurant in the De Soto Business Park off 95th Street would be open by now, but supplier delays postponed its opening until -- it is hoped -- Monday. One recent afternoon, Wally sternly but politely informed one supplier of his disappointment. It wasn't the way to keep customers, he warned.

The Norths and the restaurant's manager, Amy Palmer, said diners who found their way to Wally's Cafe wouldn't suffer the same disappointment.

"We demand and expect to provide good quality service," Wally said. "That's one of the keys to success in this business."

The Norths base the observation on experience. They have owned and operated Wally's Bar and Grill in Gardner for the past four years and before that, in Olathe. Wally's Cafe is the first of what they hope could become a small chain of family restaurants.

Not surprisingly, the Norths agreed the other keys to success in the business centered on food. Wally's Cafe will anchor the west side of the small strip mall that's east side is home to Kingsford Barbecue. Any entry to the cafe's parking lot from 95th Street will take a driver past three fast-food restaurants.

The competition didn't worry Wally, who was confident customers looking for expertly prepared food made from fresh ingredients would search out the new cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cafe will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and stay open with a dinner menu until 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, he said.

"We have a good half-pound burger and hand-cut fries," he said. "Nothing is frozen except the chicken. We don't believe in freezing our steaks, hamburger or potatoes. We like everything fresh. We believe that gives it the quality we like to serve."

Dinners will include such things as prime rib, peeled shrimp and steaks, Wally said.

There will be a children's menu, and a television running cartoons and other programs appealing to kids. In addition, there will be two televisions tuned to programs for older audiences.

Dawn warned customers to bring an appetite.

"Our portions are very good sized for the money," Dawn said. "We are going to be known for the breakfast you can afford."

Breakfast was the reason the Norths brought their kitchen manager, Rex Ratcliff, to De Soto from Gardner. Ratcliff, came to the Norths four years ago with past breakfast cook experience with La Peep and First Watch restaurants.

Coffee will be fresh and hot for the earliest customers and served as a prelude that will include all breakfast standards and some of Wally's special touches like homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls, Ratliff said.

A view of Kansas Highway 10 fills the cafe's double glass doors, and the Norths hoped to get some highway business. But they wanted and expected most of their customers to be from De Soto or nearby communities.

"We like the smaller town," Wally said.

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