Sara & Tony O'Bryan had dreamed of opening their own café for more than twenty years. Sara spent several years gaining knowledge in different areas of the industry which contributes to the success of Bean Counter Café. Managing The Roasterie in Kansas City taught her a lot about coffee business, and a dozen years of experience as a GM and Catering at Atlanta Bread Company and Noodles and Company gave her the time to perfect her recipes. Tony spent his free time between work, music & college learning how to use the vegetables they grew in their organic gardens. He makes the pickles served with every sandwich, our famous sauerkraut for our Reuben, uses all of our compost for our home composting, while helping us to limit our footprint by recycling.
In 2011, Sara received a call from friends Jim and Judy who were frequent customers of Bean Counter Café and long-time friends from Atlanta Bread Co. 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 Eastern Jackson County.
Colonial Gardens approached Sara & Tony 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 open to the public inside Colonial Gardens featuring local produce, meat, soda, smoothies and coffee. They work directly with Colonial's growers for produce to use on the expanded menu. They even offer a 3-course Take-N-Bake Dinner for Two!
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.