KENTLAND — Growing up around the Riegle Inn in Brook, which her grandparents owned, Jessica Nicole Ullrich knew at a young age what she wanted to do when she got older. Recently her dream has come true, and Wednesday, Dec. 2 will be the grand opening of her very own Hunter’s Café in downtown Kentland.
Ullrich and Hunter’s Café has had a soft opening since Nov. 12, and the reviews have been great so far.
“The favorite so far has been the waffle iron sandwich which comes with cheese, eggs, choice of ham or sausage, hash browns, bacon, and syrup; and my homemade biscuits and gravy have been a big hit as well,” said Ullrich. “The muffins and cookies have taken off too; I already have regulars.”
Hunter’s Café features breakfast and lunch items as well as freshly baked pastries all within a rustic farm-themed atmosphere.
“A welcoming, cozy atmosphere is what I aimed for,” said Ullrich. “I want everyone to feel welcome all the way from the coffee drinkers to the kids.”
A unique aspect of Hunter’s Café is the kid’s corner. The corner is a dedicated space in the cafe with books, toys, a TV, a chalkboard, and a bench that sits in the bay window.
“I eventually want to build or buy a small table so the kids have a spot to do puzzles and other activities,” added Ullrich. “I also hope to have kid activities once a month here after hours. I want the community to know that we are here for the children and this is a safe place for them.”
Ullrich’s son, Hunter, was the inspiration for the kid’s corner as well as the name of the cafe itself.
Hunter, who will be three later this month, often greets the customers at the door and serves as a host for other kids that come to the cafe.
The grand opening is set for Dec. 2 from 6-2 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for noon.
“I am overwhelmed with excitement and I’m also humbled by the response already,” added Ullrich.
The regular schedule for the cafe will be Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. except on Tuesdays when the cafe is closed, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sundays.
“I decided to close early on Sundays because that is family day for us,” Ullrich said.
Her excitement for the grand opening is even higher after having to wait longer than expected to open.
“I found this building in Aug. 2019 and the business plan was finalized earlier this year,” said Ullrich. “The closing date for the building was when COVID hit here, March 16 the very first date indoor dining was restricted by the governor. The uncertainty of it all was tough. However, I kept working at Bob and Connies and I now have that experience of working through it if it ever comes to that again.”
“Plus it gave me more time to do a complete remodel,” Ullrich said with a huge smile on her face.
The interior features metal and some of the wood from the family’s barns and most of the work was done by Jessica’s significant other, Brian Tebo.
“He has been a huge help and has provided good moral support through all of this,” added Ullrich. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”
Hunter’s Café is located at 107 N. 3rd Street and is looking for employees.
“If you are looking for fresh, baked from scratch food and deserts with a cozy, comfortable atmosphere, please join us here at Hunter’s Café located in downtown Kentland,” concluded Ullrich.