It’s no secret that there will be a big party with nibbles, noshes and music at the grand opening of a local eatery this weekend.
The Secret Sandwich Society owners Kymberlee Nalumaluhia and her husband have joined forces with associates Kate Clarke and Sterling Schat to expand the business to include The Yard Sale Café, a new, sit-down, mid-day eatery in Bishop. Everyone is invited to join the grand opening from 4-7 p.m. this Saturday, March 16 at 124 S. Main St. behind Spellbinder Books.
The event will include live music and samples of The Yard Sale Café’s summer menu, Nalumaluhia said. Some of those menu items will include samples of her original wraps, vegetarian items, hummus and other spreads with pita chips and Oriental wild rice salad.
The entrepreneur is not letting all of her secrets out of the bag yet, though, she said. The final menu is subject to last-minute changes. “I want to watch, weather-wise, and go with the season.” If it’s cold there will be winter soup samples as well “but it’s looking like summer so far.”
Party guests can also try Nalumaluhia’s flavored and sparkling lemonade and infused waters. “It should be pretty laid-back,” said Schat, who will be baking cookies for the occasion, too – perhaps a couple of his lemon and almond recipes.
The band, Halfway to Benton, will perform “pretty much the whole time,” filling the air with their “classic vinyl” sound which is reminiscent of ’60s and ’70s tunes, Nalumaluhia said.
Overall, the Nalumaluhias see the café as “a comfortable, smaller, more intimate downtown place to meet, stage an event, show a film, have a dance or just listen to music,” Robert said.
The Secret Sandwich Society, located under the giant smiley face in the alley behind Alex Printing, 163 N. Main St., was Nalumaluhia’s brainchild. She wanted to promote “consumption with a conscience,” serving healthy, great-tasting food while staying green by “avoiding waste, using ecologically-sensitive packaging and harnessing the power of the Internet to network with like-minded people in search of a good meal. I want good karma for our family and our community,” she said. In fact, Nalumaluhia named her commercial kitchen The Good Karma Kitchen.
On a shoestring budget, and with “a lot of support from the community,” Robert said the kitchen and sandwich business opened in 2011. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our friends” – too many to name, he said. From taking to-go Internet orders at www.TheSecretSandwich  Society.com, the business expanded to provide delivery service for customers who couldn’t get away from work to grab lunch, said Robert, the original Secret Sandwich Society bicycle delivery guy.
A culinary showing at the 2011 Earth Day event increased The Secret Sandwich Society’s business substantially and “we just didn’t have the space” to fully use the 24-person-limit permit, Robert said. In a synchronistic turn of events, Spellbinder Books owner Lynn Almeida approached the Nalumaluhias, looking for a business to rent the space behind her shop when Blacksheep Coffee Roasters relocated to 232 Main St. The couple jumped at the chance, and in their very-limited-budget scramble to prepare the new café, they searched thrift stores and yard sales for “decent seating,” Nalumaluhia said. “That’s how we came up with the name.”
Schat is the newest member of the culinary quartet. Heading into the bookstore over the holidays last year, he encountered Nalumaluhia in the café during its demo phase, she said. “He asked if I was hiring. I said, ‘What do you do?’ When he said, ‘I’m a baker,’ I said ‘I’m hiring.’ Sterling brings us a multitude of skills, not the least of which are his breads and other bakery goods,” Nalumaluhia said.
Clarke, cook, barista, server and the sandwich enterprise’s Internet operator, said, “I’m excited to be a part of our new (café) venue … a fresh, lively and happy environment.”
Robert said his wife, Clarke and Schat are “doing a fantastic job with the day-to-day operations of the business. I’m excited to see it grow.” The quartet’s bucket list includes an expanded menu, a juice bar, regular live music and wine-tasting events, the partners said.
The Yard Sale Café’s summer menu includes twice-baked potato and Minnesota chicken wild rice soups; roasted butternut squash, chicken Caesar and black bean and sweet potato wraps; and roast beef in caramelized onion and horseradish sauce on a fresh-baked roll. “We have a fresh vegetarian item daily,” said Nalumaluhia, and complimentary ice tea and lemonade. The café also has freshly-baked rolls, croutons, cookies and bread and homemade peanut brittle and jerky for sale.
Normal Yard Sale Café hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
“This is a challenging economy,” Nalumaluhia said, “If we can succeed now when so many of our colleagues are struggling (to compete with) the franchised fast-good giants, we are poised to achieve great things when the economy turns around.”
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