Kamas Café gets an extreme makeover
A woman and her husband, both residents of Kamas, stopped to help unwrap the packaging from new seats ordered for the Kamas Café, out of excitement of what she saw, according to Mary Strand, who now owns the Café with her husband, Ron.
"Her name was Sherry, I think," Strand recalls. "Sherry didn’t want to leave."
But Strand appreciates all the help she can get, she says. The two hope to open the café next Wednesday, March 15.
Workers, managers and cooks overseeing the revival of the café, built in 1938, say the same excitement exhibited this weekend happens on a daily basis, four and sometimes five times a day, says Jill Jordan, the café’s manager.
Eileen Dunn, owner of the Kamas-based catering company Done To Your Taste enters just to give kudos to Jordan and the crew working inside.
"We should start a Kamas Beautification club," she offers.
The Strands live in Los Angeles, where Dr. Ron Strand’s plastic surgery practice is located. They own a Kamas storage business, and used to own Tristar, a local ranch, up until four years ago.
The two have never owned a restaurant, but rather, see the Kamas Café as a way to give back to the community they have returned to for 15 years.
"It’s been a great, positive experience because of the relationships we’ve made and the people we’ve met," she explains. "Everyone who has worked on the café has been local."
Like Dunn, Strand senses Kamas is on the verge of change. She notes that Tuhaye Golf Course is in the works and a new commercial center, which will include a Jans store is underway. Plans are even in the works to redevelop her old ranch into an up-scale vacation destination.
When the Strands purchased the Kamas Café in July, Mary Strand recalls seeing maggots in the kitchen. The café has had a history of opening and closing in recent years and had been closed for sometime, until the Strands decided to buy it. It originally opened as a restaurant for the builders of the Duchesne Tunnel, Strand says.
The Strands began renovations at the beginning of January this year, and have since replaced virtually everything from the plumbing to the electrical wiring to new stucco on the façade, according to Jordan. They kept the original 30s formation, however, with large, rounded windows at the corners with a view of Main Street.
The interior of the café has black leather couches, and a clean, corrugated steel bar for sitting, lit by hanging lamps made of old metal milk can tops. The refurbished Kamas Café can seat over 70 diners.
The bathrooms have been refinished with large and small sandstone-colored tiles that climb the walls, and there is a gas fireplace in the back framed with stones. The kitchen features a seven-foot-deep walk-in cooler.
"It’s completely new, every square inch," Jordan confirms. "Right down to the cooks and people."
John Briggs, who has worked at the Wasatch Golf Course and the Wagon Wheel Café, will be the Café’s chef.
Briggs says breakfast dishes will feature large omelets, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and eggs and ham. For lunch, he plans to offer home-ground burgers, and homemade chips and fries.
"We’re going to make homemade soups and small loaves of bread for dinner we’re not using frozen anything it’s all going to be made here," he confirmed.
Jordan, who has worked at the Soldier Hollow Golf Course for 17 years, says she is anxiously awaiting the customers that "come in all the time and get to know you."
Before next week’s opening, the 2,600 square-foot café still has a few final touches to complete, including framed black-and-white photos of a younger Kamas, featuring a newspaper from 1916, to remind patrons that while the paint may be fresh, and the fixtures new, the New Kamas Café still remembers how it got there and where it’s at.
For the time being, the café’s outside canopy will read "new" before "Kamas Café," but Strand has no doubt the sign will need to drop the "new" in the near future.
"This is a great local story," she concluded. "This is really a café of the community and for the community."
The Kamas Café, located at 35 South Main Street in Kamas. The café will be open six days a week, and closed on Thursdays. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
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Bill White shut down his restaurants in the spring when the pandemic hit. They’re back up and running, but the challenges brought on by COVID-19 remain: “[I]t seems we collectively are taking one step forward and two steps backwards.”