Bakery will anchor busy corner
Soon, the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked goods will be wafting along the streets of downtown Tonganoxie.
Within the next two or three weeks, Pam Phillips and Susie Snapp plan to open Pammy Sue's Baked Goods & Gifts at the northwest corner of Fourth and Main.
The women come to the business with plenty of experience cooking for the masses. Until recently, they both worked in the kitchen of Tonganoxie Elementary School. Pam worked at the grade school for 18 years, and Susie for 15 years. There, they cooked about 650 meals a day, and on special days when students brought guests, 750 meals.
For years the women had talked about opening a bakery.
"As the years went by, we kept getting more and more serious, and last year we really got to talking about it," Susie said.
Pam said it was a friend's comment that helped them make the move.
"A friend who is a police officer said he's seen a lot of people who have regrets and he said don't have regrets -- give it a shot," Pam said.
That's what they're doing.
"Our families have been real supportive, so we just said let's go for it," Susie said.
Pammy Sue's will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch. On Saturday evenings, they'll close after breakfast to get ready for their opry night special dinner and dessert.
The weekday menu will include homemade pastries and breads with some breakfast items, and for lunch, sandwiches, soup, salad and dessert.
They will contract out for purchased doughnuts.
The women said it was a tough decision to leave the school's kitchen. Even at mid-summer as their new shop was being remodeled, both came close to tears when talking about leaving the school.
"It was a very difficult thing for us to do -- we both boohooed," Pam said.
Susie added: "To be working moms it was the perfect job to have. But now the kids are gone and we're both seeing this as an adventure -- we're stepping out now."
Better by the dozen
Although the women have never worked in a restaurant before, they're sure their school kitchen experience will come in handy.
For one thing, the grade school's kitchen is not much bigger than the kitchen at Pammy Sue's.
"Our experience with that, working in a small space, getting your timing down -- we had to get a meal out at a certain time -- I think that's going to be to our advantage."
They have plenty of experience with large-volume ordering, budgeting and getting ready for health inspections. And, they're used to getting up early in the morning.
New and improved
Diners who stop at Pammy Sue's will see a vast transformation in the shop, the former offices of the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and Chamber of Commerce.
Visitors are greeted by an interior front porch, complete with a lace-curtained screened door. Bistro tables provide inside seating, and picnic tables are available for fresh-air dining.
And, those who know the grade school's former tradition of serving peanut butter twists -- sweet yeast rolls with a peanut butter filling and topped with peanut butter glaze -- will be happy to know this will be a house specialty.
The women, who are seeing the wrapup of their summer remodeling project, are eager to get down to business.
"When you're used to income coming in, it's kind of hard deciding to go out on your own," Susie said. "But it's also exciting, and it's been fun so far."