Home-Cooked Hospitality

The smell of home cooking amid a neighborly atmosphere is drawing long lines of locals to Kite & Key Café, 2301 W. Franklin St.

Nestled along West Franklin Street, the year-old breakfast spot is best-known for its signature corned beef hash and creative cinnamon French toast — a cinnamon roll cut in half and dunked in egg custard before being griddled on the flat-top grill.

“We offer a good variety of Mom’s home-cooking,” says owner Mary Jo Brugmann.

Last spring, after enjoying six years of success with her aptly named MJ’s Café at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Brugmann decided to expand her business portfolio by opening Kite & Key.

“I always worked really hard and knew you only get out of something what you put into it,” she says.

An Ohio farm girl, Brugmann also knows farm-fresh food is best, so Kite & Key sources locally: eggs from Jake’s Happy Hens and coffee from TJ’s Roaster, both in Evansville.
The café’s breakfast menu has become so popular, Kite & Key recently started offering it all day on Saturdays and Sundays. Selections include biscuits with homemade gravy, German fries, griddle cakes, Kite waffles, and cream cheese-filled crepes.

Kite & Key also offers a lunch menu that includes soups, salads, and sandwiches, such as the tuna and cheddar melt. An on-site bakery serves up sweets, from cookies and pies to cakes, including a customer favorite, strawberry.

The café’s friendly atmosphere keeps customers coming back, says Brugmann.

“We have large, community-style tables, and when the line backs up Saturdays and Sundays, people invite total strangers to sit with them. It’s a good, hometown attitude,” she says, adding there are lots of regulars. “One couple in their 70s has come in almost every day since we opened.” And Brugmann and her employees also extend their hospitality. “The staff is so personable, and they tend to know a lot of people who are coming in the door.”

So, the next time you stop by Kite & Key, say hi to Brugmann at the counter — she happily will offer up food and friendship.

For more information about Kite & Key Café, call 812-401-0275 or visit kiteandkeycafe.com.

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