Sunday, September 2, 2018

Kitty Cat Cafe

Kitty Cat Cafe welcomes you!

Yes, it could have been "Dolphin Deli" or "Monkey Munchies" or "Petunia Patio," but the cutest fabric on the rack was this one - purr-fect for aprons in pint-size waitress scale! It also doesn't hurt that we're a family of 18 feline fans, hosting a grand total of eleven (11!) as pets. That's .611 cats per person for us! We know cats, love 'em, and don't mind naming our family diner after 'em!

Parents and younger siblings are patrons of our cafe. They come to eat, drink, win prizes, and enjoy exceptional serve staff talent. Our venture is the joint success of grandma and the kids; much of the baking, prep work, and training is done in advance at weekly times together. That's when we make cookies and gelatin, prep salad veggies, and mix sumptuous servings of creamy mac 'n cheese. That's also when we carefully measure ingredients and fill the ice cream maker, lining up with enthusiasm for our turn to punch the "start" button. Grandma and gramps take care of the rest of the menu, but we step back and relax when customers arrive and competent kids spring into action!

Doors open with a friendly greeting. Ryan and Austin, three year old cousins, sport name tags and natty bow ties, guiding each guest to a sunny place on the deck. They present menus and request drink orders. Cold beer is an option on this warm summer day, so the boys know they need to politely ask to see ID when daddies ask for one!

Next up are the girls, Brielle and Kaylee, our lovely server pair. They're here to invite you to The Catnip Bar, our oh-so-clever way of introducing fresh greens to your meal! Jello cups are an option for little brothers. There's two of those in attendance today, both just a year old, but very opinionated on what they will and will not eat!

Siblings Austin and Brielle at your service! 

Don't think for a sec that since kids are running the asylum today, we scoot past some of the niceties of fine dining! Crayons and coloring sheets keep the little ones occupied while wait staff scrambles to please!

Salad bowls are bussed by Austin and Ryan, and just like that, it's time to order an entree! The girls whip out their handy pads and carefully record the heart's desire of each guest. Brielle's a third grade whiz at writing and spelling, but Kindergarten is new to Kaylee, so she's most comfortable indicating shorthand initials. Our kitchen is customer friendly, though. We pretty much already know what makes everybody happy and have it ready in ample supply!

Those who opted for fish receive a broiled filet of cod. Sides of rice and veggies couple nicely with a self service trip to the Catnip Bar.

Staff sits down to eat once adults are served. Host Ryan enjoys his "home made" jello and mac 'n cheese! (And please note that he signed his own name tag, too!)

Channing's only been around for a year and a half, but he knows what's coming after you clean your plate of an entree....


But wait! WHAT? 

That can't be! Oh my goodness! YES! it is...


Well, come on, scaredy cats! What else would you expect to be offered at a place named Kitty Cat Cafe?

Patrons and wait staff alike have collective doubts.....which is why ice cream is an option - with multiple takers!

Post dinner finds a table of well fed, purring patrons - timing is right for the serious business of selling raffle tickets to mom, dad, and grandpa. Eight giant chocolate chip cookies are up for grabs. Kids handle the entire process without a whisker of help! I'm so proud of all of them!

Patrons pay their tabs with enthusiasm and "beyond generous" tipping, departing with "kitty bags" of leftovers, declaring their Kitty Cat Cafe experience a five star one! 👍

Tips for operating your own grandchild staffed family cafe!

1. Make it special with all the goodies! My apron pattern is traced from one I bought at Dollar Tree. Add a little length as kids grow. Omit the trouble and expense of bias tape edging by sewing a matching muslin backing, (right sides together), leaving top open for turning. Press and close. Use ribbon for neck and waist ties.

2. Bow ties are cute in a paw print pattern. Cut 3" x 8" and 3" x 4" strips for each. Fold larger piece in half and sew right sides together (1/4" seam) along 8" side. Turn. Press seam to center back. Fold both short ends to overlap at center back, and take a few gathering stitches to hold. Press 4" sides under 1/2" on remaining piece. Center perpendicular over larger piece, folding both short ends back to create knot effect. Trim as needed and take a few stitches to hold. Use safety pin to attach tie to shirt.

3. "Head Boppers" were Dollar Tree purchases covered with paper punched designs. Fold wired ribbon into bow and hand stitch to center top.

4. Design and print your own menus and name tags. Find coloring sheets on Pinterest. Order pads were purchased from a local toy store.

5. Make an easy-to-serve menu so you won't have a hissy fit when orders start to come in! I made a beef slow cooker recipe, pre-baked mac 'n cheese, fish readied for broiling, steamable microwave veggies, and a self serve salad bar. Enlist grandpa's help with getting drinks and ice cream cones to staff. (Feed him first, he'll be happier to help!)

6. Here's where you'll find the recipe for Kitty Litter Box cake!