Sara & Tony O'Bryan had dreamed of opening their own café for more than twenty years. Sara’s spent her life gaining knowledge in several different areas of the industry which has contributed to the success of Bean Counter Café. Managing the Roasterie in Kansas City taught her the ins and outs of the coffee business, but she also has several years of experience in catering and general management at Atlanta Bread Company and Noodles and Company. In the meantime, Tony spent his free time between work & college learning how to use the vegetables they grew in their organic gardens. He learned how to make pickles, sauerkraut & dry vegetables.
While managing Noodles, Sara received a call from friends Jim and Judy who were frequent customers of Bean Counter Café. Janet Frasier, the owner at that time, was looking for an interested buyer. Sara jumped at the opportunity as the location was only a few minutes from her home and she felt she could finally begin to achieve her dream.
For six and a half years, Sara and Tony turned the café into a great success by building strong relationships with their many return customers. Experimentation led to many menu favorites such as homemade sauerkraut and seasonal side salads. Bean Counter Café made a point to support local and organic as much as possible within their menu. Many of the café’s ingredients came straight from their home garden such as tomatoes, peppers, herbs, lettuces, potatoes, and much more. They also use local jams(Berry Nutty Farms), local meat products, local coffee (from Broadway Cafe) and other local selections throughout the menu.
As time passed, the little café located inside of a bank building began to feel very small. Sara and her team found themselves forced to turn down catering opportunities because they lacked the refrigeration space and time. The café was overwhelmed with day-to-day business as word got out about their delicious menu. Sara and Tony investigated different locations but struggled to find a place where they could keep their customer base and continue to operate in Blue Springs.
Colonial Gardens approached Sara personally with the ambition of building a café inside their newly renovated location. With Bean Counter Cafe's emphasis on local and homegrown ingredients, this could not have been a more perfect fit. The Café had already been using produce directly from Colonial’s greenhouses while patiently awaiting the building’s construction to be complete.
After much anticipation, Bean Counter Café is finally open to the public in the Colonial Gardens location featuring local produce, meat, soda, coffee, and eventually local wine and beer. They will be working directly with Colonial's growers for produce to use on the newly expanded menu. Eventually, they will be offering a monthly dinner which will feature specific local offerings.
Photos below show the many years Sara and Tony have been working on their at-home organic garden! Sara's original business plan from 1996 is also pictured.