Dining A La King: Two downtown Elkhart eateries making transitions
Posted: 07/28/2013 at 9:00 pm
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Kelly Bowdoin (right) fills a box of mini cupcakes at Mini Delights as her daughter, Ashley Krieg, looks on in this 2010 file photo. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
Kelly Bowdoin ices a mini cupcake at Mini Delights in this 2010 file photo. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
Mini Delights Bake Shoppe store manager Ashley Krieg frosts a special order of cupcakes in the downtown Elkhart business on Nov. 9, 2012. Krieg is buying the business from her mother, Kelly Bowdoin. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Ashley Krieg (Truth Photo By Mark Shephard)
Dining A La King
The owners of two downtown Elkhart eateries are leaving the business.
At Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, there’s a plan in place to sell the business to a family member and keep making cupcakes.
At Boardwalk Cafe, the business is just closing after nearly 19 years of serving people breakfast and lunch.
There aren’t Quick Bites this week. They’re return next week. But here are the details on the two changes:
Mini Delights Bake Shoppe
Ashley Krieg is buying Mini Delights from her mother, Kelly Bowdoin.
The two really opened Mini Delights in December 2009. Kelly owned the business and did the baking. Ashley managed the business side.
“She was the primary baker. I would help with decorating and then I ran the business end of it,” Krieg said.
They opened during the cupcake craze that may be waning in bigger cities, but isn’t here.
People are still eating a lot of cupcakes. The shop at 217 S. Main St. (on the back alley) sells 2,500 to 3,000 cupcakes a week, Krieg said.
That’s a lot of sugar and flour. So much that the business stopped doing catering that doesn’t involve cupcakes.
Krieg knows the business. “I love it and I’ve seen it,” she said.
And people love their product. Mini Delights won the reader vote as winner of Cupcake Quest in 2012.
She is a good downtown citizen. She was instrumental in working with Iechyd Da Brewing Co. to pair a beer and a cupcake made with the beer.
She wants downtown to grow and hum. It’s happening, but not as fast as she hoped. “Since we’ve opened four years ago, I have definitely seen a lot of positive, more people, more community interaction,” she said.
The business will continue to offer 11 regular flavors and a flavor of the week, which will vary. She doesn’t plan to change the quality, consistency or growth, she said. But she may experiment with more flavors of the week.
What’s Bowdoin going to do? Help with her husband’s business, but mostly slow down and enjoy traveling. And spend more time being grandma.
Running a business is hard. Running a restaurant is particularly tough.
And after nearly 19 years, owner Cathy Kelley is done.
The last day for Boardwalk Cafe, 561 E. Jackson Blvd., may have been Sunday, July 28. It was to be Wednesday, but Kelley said it depended on when the food ran out.
“It’s just time to give it up,” she said.
The cafe served the eggs, toast and sandwiches like many Midwestern diner-type places do. In 2008, it went non-smoking before the city’s own ban took effect. Business did well after that, said John Thomas, property manager for Easy Shopping Place and the southern part of that where Boardwalk is.
But the Great Recession also took a toll. The closing of Gunite resulted in her losing breakfast customers, she said.
The closing of Prairie Street bridge resulted in her losing lunch customers, she said.
Her battle with cancer a few years ago wasn’t a factor. And she didn’t try to sell the restaurant. She’s just done, will take a break and figure out what to do.
“It’s been almost 19 years and times are tough and it’s just time to give it up,” she said.
Business goes through cycles. And restaurants do too. And whether it was the economy or other reasons, there’s no shame in running a place for nearly two decades and deciding not to anymore.
Thomas is hopeful that a breakfast and lunch place will open and be successful in the spot. He said there’s a need. “It would be nice to keep a restaurant in that location,” he said.
You can’t always predict success. After several other places came and went at the north end of the building, 5 Star Dive Bar is doing well. Owner Jason Curtis is following his business plan and is busy. “He’s doing a good job,” Thomas said.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, firstname.lastname@example.org and via various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.