By Kady Cramer
Approachable midwestern taste with an elevated simplicity. That’s how chef Mary Kay Bader describes her seasonally changing menu at Simply Grand Kitchen & Creamery, located at 504 Main St. in Grandview.
Mother and son duo Zach and Laurie Taylor opened the doors to Simply Grand in early Fall of this year with a selection of homemade ice cream treats. They soon welcomed Laurie’s sister Mary Kay Bader home from Belize to create their savory foods menu in early October.
“They got the ice cream going because we found the building and didn’t want to lose it,” says Bader. “So, they started that with the intention that I would be here, and we would start the kitchen.”
Originally from the Grandview area, Bader finished culinary school in Denver, CO, studying abroad in France and Italy. From there she worked in the prestigious Potager kitchen in Denver as a sous chef for the next 13 years before becoming an award-winning chef at the Maya Beach Hotel and Bistro in Belize.
While vacationing in Belize in 2009 Bader met the owners of the Bistro by chance. After reconnecting with them in 2011, Bader was asked to consult for three months to help with their menu. Three months turned into six, which turned into the following 11 years.
Ready for a change and to be home around family, Bader made the move back to Grandview mid-fall.
“At my last restaurant I had close to 50 employees just in the kitchen and, for me, I really wanted to get back to something that was small – that was more intimate – where I was doing less management of people and more cooking again,” says Bader.
With Laurie’s background in business, Zach’s studies in real estate investment, and Mary Kay’s experience as a chef, the three decided to open their own restaurant.
“Grandview just needs more ‘not fast-food’ food options,” says Bader. “I want to create simple dishes that are done elegantly. Being able to source the food locally and change the menu when I want, and having it be just the three of us… it’s great.”
About 90 percent of Simply Grand’s ingredients are sourced from local businesses in surrounding areas.
“I really like to know where my food is coming from, who’s growing it, who’s raising the cattle or pigs… for me personally I prefer to eat food that I know comes from a really good source,” says Bader.
While Maya Beach Hotel and Bistro’s menu was very seafood oriented, with similar vegetable options throughout the year, Bader missed the dramatic change of seasons in her menu selections.
“I’ve met all of the farmers that we get our beef from…the pork from… the vegetables from,” says Bader. “For me it’s an important part of it. That’s also why our menu will change as well based on what I can find that’s available.”
Simply Grand currently offers seasonal soups, salads, sandwiches, and homestyle dishes such as quiche and pot pie – all made from scratch in house. Another option is their Tuesday Night Take Home Dinner. Pick-up meals feed 4 and include specialty items such as roasted chicken panzanella salad or lasagna with garlic bread. Orders must be placed the Monday before by 2 p.m.
As far as the future goes for Simply Grand, the three plan to keep it small and intimate with sustainable and ethical food partners.
“We have a really good time getting to know our customers,” says Bader. “There are quite a few people that come in that have become regulars. However, we’re still definitely growing and trying to get our name out there.”
Simply Grand’s winter hours are Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; closed Wednesday, Thursday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Doors will open at 7 a.m. starting in January for light breakfast foods, pastries, and coffee. For more information, visit their Facebook page @SimplyGrandKitchen&Creamery.