Madison & Co. Café held its official ribbon cutting with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Nov. 10.
The former Hungry Gardener is now owned by Kimi Hinkle a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school.
“I was born into the culinary world,” Hinkle said. “My mother catered when I was a child. I have been working in all manners of food service throughout my life. Everything from fast food to coffee shops to fine dining.”
Hinkle said the café offers a full menu but will not have a meat counter like the previous establishment.
"Kimi was so excited and enthusiastic," MCCC President Tessa Rehkop said. "She has a lot of plans and ideas for Madison & Co. Cafe. One thing I'm excited about are grab-and-go sack lunches, which are pre-made meals that you can just pull from the fridge, pay and go. Perfect for people that don't have much time to eat on their lunch break."
The café also offers dine-in, carryout and take-away catering as well as the ability to rent the space after hours for events.
Hinkle said opening day was beyond her wildest expectations.
“The traffic was far and above what I could have ever imagined,” Hinkle said. “I am bringing on several employees and am in the process of upgrading equipment to match our sales volume.”
Hinkle said Fredericktown has so much to offer that she wanted to give back to it.
When speaking of the response from the community Hinkle said, “Overwhelming and humbling. They have welcomed this café with open arms and keep filling the dining room with their wonderful faces.”
Hinkle said her favorite item on the menu is the southwest chicken wrap.
"My family and I had lunch there," Rehkop said. "We tried the crispy chicken wrap, popcorn shrimp basket and madco burger and they were all good and a good price."
Rehkop said she is looking forward to trying the chicken and wild rice soup next, because she hears it is amazing.
"We've never had a ribbon cutting on a Saturday so I wasn't sure how much of a turnout we were going to get but the dining room was full," Rehkop said. "I think that's a sign of how supportive our community is but also to Kimi Hinkle. We're all really excited to enjoy the cooking of an experienced chef."
Rehkop said ribbon cuttings are the perfect way to get the word out to the community about new businesses and organizations.
"They are always open to the public, so anyone is welcome to come welcome the new owners and give their support," Rehkop said. "These ceremonies aren't just limited to new stores but also, places celebrating an anniversary or promoting a new addition or service. We recently held one for Country Lane celebrating their new ownership."
Rehkop said the chamber is definitely a family, and it shows when members are willing to give up a Saturday to support a local business owner.
"There are so many benefits to joining the Chamber, especially in small towns like Fredericktown and Marquand," Rehkop said. "We genuinely care about the success of our businesses and organizations, so we do all we can to facilitate that through events like free Ribbon Cuttings, promoting their events, sharing their news and updates and just helping get their name out there."
Rehkop said the chamber is made up of all volunteers meaning all membership dues go right back into the community.
"The Madison County Chamber has gotten a reputation for being very friendly and personable," Rehkop said. "I think that's just how a small town chamber should be, a meet up of friends and family as opposed to networking with strangers. Also, anyone who is new to the community feeling welcomed with open arms."
Madison & Co. Café is located at 203 E. College Ave. and is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.