Dining With Denise Neil

Beautiful Day Cafe’s grand opening is in two weeks, ‘soft’ opening is now

It’s grand opening is May 30, but people can stop by for a Beautiful Day Cafe lunch now.
It’s grand opening is May 30, but people can stop by for a Beautiful Day Cafe lunch now. The Wichita Eagle

The official beautiful day for Beautiful Day Cafe is May 30.

That’s the day Charolett Knapic has chosen for the grand opening of her new cafe at 2516 E. Central.

And it’s a day a long, long time in the making. It was 2011 when Knapic first announced plans for her cafe, which will feature locally sourced, organic ingredients and – eventually – produce from its own next-door garden.

Knapic, who also owns Echo Landscapes, has actually already kind of, sort of opened the restaurant. During her “soft opening,” she’s welcoming people to stop by for lunch between about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, when she’ll be offering a limited menu of farm-to-table sandwiches, salads and more. She hopes to have her full staff trained by the grand opening date and then will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, offering breakfast items as well.

I stopped by recently and saw the cozy interior, fitted with a few tables and chairs and a bar that looks into the kitchen. Knapic wanted me to be sure to see the restrooms, which she and some volunteers decorated using colorful bottles imbedded in the wall so that light shines through them. A wall near the restrooms eventually will feature the signatures of all the volunteers who helped her work on the cafe over the years.

I also saw a mulched, fenced-off area just across the parking lot that is being called the Green Street Permaculture Garden. By fall, Knapic will have it planted so that she can grow her own produce. She’ll also use the space, cultivated by volunteers, as a classroom to teach sustainable land practices.