When the Rhame Cafe’ was left empty and put up for sale, Julie Kruger thought long and hard about the opportunity to get into restaurant management.
By COLE BENZ
“[I] decided now is the time to go forward if I’m going to go forward or I’m going to quit doing it all together,” she said.
Kruger, who has made her name in the catering business as Kruger’s Kitchen since 2009, told the Pioneer that running a cafe has been a goal of hers for a long time.
“I’ve always wanted a cafe’,” she said. “The catering was a means to get me into it.”
She had been in the early stages of refurbishing a building in Rhame to open a restaurant, but the process kept getting sidetracked and the plan never came to fruition.
So when the Rhame Cafe’ became available, it was an easy transition, though the process took a little longer than anticipated. She wanted to make some improvements to the interior before she opened, which was something she wanted to do before she opened the door to customers.
“I asked permission to freshen it up,” Kruger said.
The walls have been painted, sinks have been upgraded and some minor plumbing issues have been fixed. Kruger and crew also put up sheetrock over the paneling walls in a portion of the interior of the cafe’.
The renovations took about three weeks, and Kruger was able to open the doors to Kruger’s Kitchen/Rhame Cafe’ on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Kruger took over the lease on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
The revamped restaurant offers a traditional cafe’ menu, with options for breakfast in the morning and another menu for lunch and dinner in the afternoons and evenings. She did say that in the near future she plans on adding specialty dinner menus for Friday and Saturday evenings.
“I want to go a little more extensive once I get my crew and everybody into a routine,” Kruger said.
She also hinted at the return of indian tacos on Tuesdays.
Kruger also acquired a liquor license, and will be serving drinks on Friday and Saturday nights. Though the selection will be limited, adult beverages will be available on the weekend evenings.
Kruger told the Pioneer that keeping her business in Rhame was important because she lives there.
“If you’re going to run a cafe’, you need to be where your business is,” she said. “I think I’ve always wanted one in Rhame.”
When word spread around town that she would be cooking for the community, she received a great deal of encouragement, support, and excitement.
“Everybody has been wanting me to get [a restaurant] going for a long time,” Kruger said. “I guess it’s just the time.”
Kruger, who has been cooking professionally since 1996, couldn’t point to a single dish as her primary specialty or customer favorite.
“I don’t know,” she said. “It is a hard question because I try to make everything [taste] good.”
Kruger’s Kitchen/Rhame Cafe’ will be open six days a week. From Monday to Wednesday the restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from Thursday to Saturday the restaurant will stay open an extra hour until 9 p.m. She is closed on Sundays.
Kruger also said that carryout is available.
Until Kruger gets her business into a routine, she said she’ll dial back her catering business, though she still has commitments she intends to fulfill. But for now, she welcomes customers to come in and give her new venture a try.
“Come in and enjoy a meal,” she said. “Try us out.”