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“Mom,” he said,” if you’re going to open a coffee shop, you need to be on Main Street.”
Fifteen years ago, on a muggy, typically June day, Adam and I looked at a 400 square foot space tucked between a barber and a “build-a-bear” type shop on Main Street. It was, to put it as kindly as possible, in need of a complete make-over. There was nothing lovely about it; its only shining glory was that it opened onto Main Street in Conway.
After an extensive, exhaustive, and expensive re-purposing, several weeks after 9/11, a dream long-deferred became Crady’s Coffee Shop. It was a family affair; however, it was Barbara’s passion. To create an atmosphere where lovers of fine pastries could gather, relax, and linger over an aromatic cup of coffee was our business model.
Les and Adam did all the grunt work; Heather and I handled the clean-up and small work. (Unfortunately, we ladies discovered that the two men’s talents did not extend to the equally necessary organization of tools, positioning of building supplies, and need of constant clean-up!) We also spent a l-oooo-n-g afternoon putting together the light fixtures in the dining room. They had come in an 8” X 8” box and had to be hand assembled. What fun!
On October 1, 2001, with prayerful purpose, Crady’s Coffee Shop opened. The day was crisply clear, as only October weather can be. I had spent several days prior to that preparing scones, muffins, pies, cakes, and what would become our signature pastry — cinnamon rolls. (A recipe for blueberry scones follows.)
With urgings from our followers, we added one of each per day: quiches, salads, sandwiches. We began staying open for lunch, and Adam became our chef. We then added more of the above, so that a diner could have more options from which to choose. Later, when the “build-a-bear” space became
available, we incorporated that space into our own and quickly got to be “the place” in Conway for excellent pastries and lunch foods.
As so often happens, lunch morphed into dinner, and in 2007, after an adjacent space became available, we began another intensive, expensive, and exhaustive reconfiguration and renovation and Crady’s opened for dinner in the fall of that year. (Sometimes I tell our diners that, should we expand again, we’d need to build an overpass across Fourth Avenue!)
Adam was an innovative chef with the ability to offer that ineluctable quality of “umami” into every meal he created.
After a long and successful “honeymoon” with our diners who gave us accolade after accolade, we settled into making Crady’s Eclectic Cuisine on Main into a desirable dining destination.
This will be our fifteenth anniversary month. To celebrate, we ask that our diners go on-line to check out what our specials will be. We plan on offering some of the same items we had that first year and throughout the years. Many of the original pastries and other items will be offered as brunch and lunch specials, as they generally have been throughout.
Thank you to all who have enabled Crady’s to be a dining destination for fifteen years. We thank you in advance for allowing us to continue to do so.