By LOGAN DARNELL
For the Coal Valley News
MADISON - Two years since the opening of K's Kafe in Madison, owner Sonja Brown would never say the ride has been easy.
For her, though, it has all been worth it for the little victories and satisfied customers. The restaurant on State Street features homestyle meals, including chicken and dumplings, spaghetti, chicken pot pie, cheesesteak, and other classic fare in a casual environment. K's Kafe has also hosted an open mic night.
Brown's inspiration is plain to see - each menu credits her mother, Kaye McCormick-Stacy, for giving her the desire to cook old fashioned food for the community.
"My mom has been in the food industry for probably 30 years, cooking for different places," Brown says, "and growing up, we always tried to pay attention and learn from her."
When it came time to choose a name for the restaurant, Brown said the answer was perfectly clear, "for the love of my mother, the respect of my mother, and all the hard work and many years she dedicated to the food service."
The restaurant is Brown's way of giving back to the community and to share her mother's recipes.
The property the restaurant is based in is leased to her by Sonny Howell. The process in attaining the space was a long, hard process, as a few businesses had used the building in the past. Renovations took one year, and many pieces of equipment and furniture were bought from the 2016 Fifth Quarter auction in Charleston. Affordability was key for the new small business owner, who did much of the renovation work with Amber Aleshire, who herself also works at K's.
Brown plans to begin offering more catering services for the area soon.
"We've done a few catering jobs, a few banquets. I'm hoping to spread out and do more That's more of what I enjoy, cooking for large groups of people."
She wishes to thank Sonny Howell and Ona Jane for their support in tough circumstances when rent was difficult to come by. Their understanding and willingness to work with her has been heartening.
"I appreciate them more than I could ever say," Brown said.
She also thanks her mother for being supportive of her and inspiring her to follow in her footsteps even though Brown had only dabbled in the food industry before. Working full time on the restaurant, Brown says, has given her a new perspective on how little a small restaurant owner earns. After paying the bills and food expenses, pennies are often what remains.
"I'm just a single woman trying to make a living," she said.
She also wishes to give thanks to Amber Aleshire for lifting her up and working with her while also supporting children of her own, which Brown takes as an inspiration. Brown thanks her own children and hopes she has done something they can be proud of, joking that she "had been handed lemons, but took them and made lemonade and chicken and dumplings."
She also names a list of regulars who keep the business going, including Betsy White, Joey Ingram, Miss Charlotte, Zach, and many others, adding, "There's a lot of customers that have gotten close to my heart. We're feeding them on a regular [basis], and the customers we've made relationships with, I couldn't thank them enough. Without them, we couldn't be here."
Most importantly, Brown said, she thanks God for keeping her going, as her faith is a big part of her life. The restaurant opens each day with prayer, and Brown makes it a point to provide customers with good food and reflect that love in her service. "We're still here," Brown says, smiling. K's Kafe has survived through two years of ups and downs, and she plans to see it through for many more.
K's Kafe is located at 220 State St., Madison. It is open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Kskafemadisonwv/.