After four years under the helm of the Brothers Nowak, the always-popular Café Corner has changed hands once again. New owner Kathleen Day has already quietly finished the transfer of the business, and is planning on rolling out her own signature twist to the establishment without tampering with customer favorites.
“I’m certainly not going to change the core concept,” said Kathleen. “Pete and Jon knew what they were doing. Our customers are passionate about certain menu items, so instead we’re going to add on to what they’ve already done.”
Over the course of the next year, Café Corner will undergo some deliberately slow and gradual changes. “We want to make it a little more full service,” added Kathleen. “We’re eventually going to redo the entire interior, add another bathroom, get a beer & wine license, and add some new permanent menu items for the evenings.”
Such a major project might sound overwhelming to most first-time restaurant owners, but Kathleen’s up to the task with a diverse background that encompasses marketing, decorating and design in addition to cooking.
“I’m sometimes skeptical when I read articles about someone who’s been in marketing for 15 years thinking they can run a restaurant,” joked Kathleen. “But it’s important for people to know that I have been catering for 20-plus years. I learned to cook in France, and that’s where my love of food really came about.”
The menu at Café Corner currently remains mostly unchanged outside of a few daily specials, and the upcoming menu additions are still being worked out. “Nothing on the menu is set in stone, but I like the idea of adding little Latin twists to everything,” said Kathleen. “My idea of good food comes from using really fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. We want to create food that feels special, but also feels comforting. The type of food that you’d find in the Spanish country-side… nothing pretentious, just really tasty and made with high-quality ingredients.”
The patio at Café Corner is well known as a neighborhood summertime staple, and there are updates also planned for it. “I don’t have a green thumb at all,” said Kathleen, “so I’m going to get a landscaper friend to make the patio more green and inviting. We’d eventually like to make it a three-season patio and use some of the newer tent-like structures and heat lamps that look a bit more elegant.”
Additionally, Kathleen’s husband Neil is lending a hand in the transformation process. “He has years and years of front-of-the-house experience,” said Kathleen. “He and I have probably washed more dishes than we ever wanted to… but we don’t mind getting our hands dirty. I think that at the end of the day we’ll be making sure that people are aware that Café Corner is still the same great place.”
More information can be found online at www.CafeCornerColumbus.com.