By CHERIL VERNON
Bon Appetit Coffee Shop & Bakery will open at its new location in a more visible part of Palestine Monday — expanding its menu and hours of operation.
“We love it and we are so excited about opening Monday,” Bon Appetit owner Peggy Marchant told the Herald-Press. “I haven't been able to go anywhere in Palestine without someone asking when it will open.”
Bon Appetit originally opened three years ago at the Palestine Mall before choosing to move to its new location and completing renovations at 1734 Crockett Rd.
“So many people have told us they have memories of the house that we have renovated to open Bon Appetit. Many people remember that their relatives got married here, or that their kids were friends with the Calloway's kids and had breakfast here. It appears that the Calloways did a lot of entertaining,” Marchant said. “Because of that, we have tried really hard to maintain the charm of the home — keeping it 'homey' — to keep some of the history alive.”
The restaurant's entry way was formerly the porch. One of the bedrooms is now used for dry storage. During the construction phase, contractors added on a large kitchen space and an outdoor patio with tables and umbrellas. An 8-foot Eiffel tower replica sits in front of the establishment.
“The kitchen is about as twice as big as our old kitchen. We also have a new gas grill and a fryer so that we can offer new items,” Marchant said.
The restaurant also has three different meeting spaces including a private party room and a “fun TV room,” Marchant noted.
“In the past, we have been known as the 'Christian Connection,” a place where Christians can come enjoy each other's company,” Marchant said. “We are open to people having their Bible studies here or special groups. We also want this to be a place where people who don't know the Lord learn that there are people that care about them, using this place in a way as a ministry.”
One of the big differences for Bon Appetit's new location is the expanded hours and menu. The restaurant will now be open seven days a week. The restaurant's drive-thru will open at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday, with the restaurant opening at 8 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. Breakfast will be served all day.
Bon Appetit also will be open with a special Sunday brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
“We will have a different menu for each Sunday but it will be all-you-can-eat and include things like scones, mini muffins, Eggs Benedict, breakfast croissants and sweets,” Marchant said.
For the regular menu, there's a little of everything — paninis, sandwiches, soup of the day, a kid's menu, breakfast items and the new “build-your-own” burgers and hotdogs. Five signature salads also are available.
Bon Appetit is also known for its variety of expresso drinks, specialty drinks and its bakery items — such as its cinnamon rolls and its popular carrot cake and chocolate sheet cake.
“We have been named Best Bakery three years in a row,” Marchant said of the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce's “Taste of Palestine” award.
One room in the restaurant will be utilized as a small craft shop.
“It was originally a breakfast kitchen nook and Mrs. Calloway kept her 'pretties' in the built-in China cabinet that we are using,” Marchant said. “We hope to have things made locally including Christian items, things related to cooking and handmade items. We have one man who makes notecards and calendars from his watercolors. My mother's cookbook (Bonnie Griffith) also is available to purchase.”
Griffith retired from Bon Appetit last year and is enjoying traveling. Marchant is assisted by other family members though, including her daughter, Mindi Latham, who serves as the restaurant manager, and her son, Weston Latham, the barista manager.
Due to its expansion, Bon Appetit has increased its number of employees from seven to 21.
“I really feel confident in our employees. They have been training in our new location. I ask that people have patience when we first open as we get things going,” Marchant said.
Marchant added that the employees will be taking orders with their iPads and taking payments at the table with card readers attached to the iPads. Free Wifi will be available for customers.
Bon Appetit will still be available for catering jobs. In fact, Bon Appetit is booked again this year to make 60,000 cookies for the Texas State Railroad's Polar Express™ event.
“We make 5,500 cookies every other day when the Polar Express™ is going on,” Marchant said.
In the near future, Marchant plans to have take-home “take and bake” dinners available including a King Ranch casserole.
“They will be in disposable aluminum so that you can freeze them and pop them in the oven for a good home-cooked meal for about the price of a bucket of chicken,” Marchant said. “If you let us know in advance, we will make sure it is thawed out and ready to put in the oven.”
For more information about Bon Appetit, call 903-729-8646 (the same phone number) or visit the restaurant's page on Facebook.