Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

New downtown eatery to offer home-style fare

January 6, 2011

Coming to the table to spend time with family over a home-cooked meal is an experience Carl Robison and Beth Waggoner will provide in downtown Bonner Springs with their new restaurant, Family Table.

Robison said the restaurant, which is expected to open sometime next week, would add something the city is lacking in terms of its available dining establishments: all made from scratch “home-style food,” as he described it.

“Bonner Springs doesn’t have a lot of family-oriented dinner restaurants and, looking around the area, it just seems like there was a hole to fill there,” Robison said.

The Family Table menu will consist of such comfort items as fried chicken, meatloaf, chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes with “a few skins and lumps, just so you know it’s real,” as Robison said.

An array of sandwiches, like grilled cheese, chicken fried steak and peanut butter and jelly, will also be available, as well as daily specials and fresh soups.

“I love making soup,” Robison said.

The cooking will be headed by Robison, who says his passion for cooking grew out of a childhood spent helping out with family dinner. He recalled that he and his brothers would trade off making a dish for dinner each night.

“Growing up, I’ve always loved cooking from a very young age,” Robison said

And Family Table won’t be Robison’s first foray into a restaurant setting. He says he waited tables all throughout high school and, at the age of 19, he became the kitchen manager of a restaurant his mother, Connie, opened in De Soto called The Sunshine Café.

That restaurant is closed now, but Robison hopes to parlay those early experiences into the owning and operating of a thriving restaurant Bonner residents will want to visit more than once.

“We really hope that the people of Bonner come in and give us a shot,” Robison said. “I know once they eat the food, they’ll enjoy it.”

Helping him in this endeavor will be Waggoner, who was previously a nurse but was looking for a change of career. The original plan, she said, was to open a catering business with Robison’s mom, a longtime friend of Waggoner’s. But when she, Connie Robison and Carl Robison visited the space at 133 Oak Street, they decided to take that plan a few steps further.

“ … When we came in here, it was way better than what we had expected,” Robison, who had been thinking about opening his own restaurant for a couple of years at that point, said of the large space that will offer a spacious dining room, full kitchen and even room enough for a stage where musicians can perform. “I came down with them and we saw the building and it just kind of evolved from there.”

Waggoner says she’ll help wait tables and run the business side of things, but she, Robison and a small staff will also work together as a team in getting and keeping the customers satisfied.

“We’re all just going to end up doing a little bit of everything,” Waggoner said.

Robison said Family Table will offer light catering services and the future plan is to also offer live music.

He also would like to assure prospective customers there will be cookies, cakes, pies and “just anything” in the way of homemade desserts available.

“I’m a big guy,” he said. “You don’t get to be as big as I am without loving dessert.”

Family Table will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Though they are still organizing the restaurant and waiting on some inspections, Robison and Waggoner are shooting for a Monday opening day. For more information, contact Family Table at (913) 422-2023.

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