Copper Wolfe Ice Cream and Cafe, in downtown Sedalia, has reopened under the new ownership of experienced baker and cook Sam Fares and his wife Shelly, both of Lowry City.
The husband-and-wife team plan to use Sam’s experience in baking and cooking in the U.S. Navy and restaurants and Shelly’s hotel management knowledge to build the cafe’s customer base.
“I love the customers, I’m very people-friendly,” Shelly said.
Shelly will work the front and deal with business issues while Sam tends to the kitchen.
“To me, it’s not even like work, when you are doing something you love,” Sam said.
Opening the cafe was providence for the couple. They came to Sedalia on other business, but while downtown they saw the sign at Copper Wolfe saying it was for lease. Sam called Laymon and Ru Wolfe, the former owners, and after talking with them decided to reopen the business.
Sam’s interest in cooking began in childhood. He grew up watching his sister make cakes and was fond of the cinnamon rolls at a local restaurant. Both of these baked goods prompted him to venture into cooking for himself.
He began his cooking career while serving in the U.S. Navy from 1985 to 1997.
“It’s a funny story,” he said. “When I went into the Navy I told them I wanted to be a cake decorator — there’s no such thing. So they put me in as a baker.”
“It’s a shame he still doesn’t do it,” Shelly said of her husband’s cake-making skills. “Because he does an exceptional job. He was known as the muffin man at the College of the Ozarks.”
“My specialty was muffins,” Sam said. “I had over 40 varieties of muffins like blueberry cobbler and strawberry cheesecake. If I could fit it in a muffin tin I kept it going.”
While working as a baker at the College of the Ozarks, near Branson, Sam made all the breads from scratch.
Eventually, Sam became the executive chef at the Lake Side Restaurant and Andrew’s Bar and Grill at the Ramada Inn in Kansas City.
“He did all the catering like Lake Viking Marine, Cardinal Health Care, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Union Pacific and Black and McDonald,” Shelly said.
“We catered 200 to 300 meals,” Sam said. “And believe it or not, I cooked all of it.”
They plan to use their catering skills at Copper Wolfe.
“We will cater,” Sam said. “We have a special menu and the price is per person, and we can create a menu.”
The Fareses also welcome reservations of small meetings and get-togethers at the cafe, after usual business hours.
Customers will find daily specials and then a second special at Copper Wolfe. Specials will change often to add variety to the menu. Wednesday will always feature $1 tacos, but there will be a $5.99 special such as pizza burger sliders, or Shelly’s homemade pasta sauce served on spaghetti with garlic sticks.
For those who can’t break away for lunch, Copper Wolfe delivers in the immediate business area. Outside of downtown, deliveries require an $8 minimum order and a $2 delivery fee.
Customers will find not only a selection of burgers and sandwiches, but also rotating lunch meals like homemade pot pie, hand-cut and hand-battered chicken strips, creamy garlic chicken penne, and soon chicken Parmesan.
“I just want to test all of these and if it goes well, we’ll be open for supper,” Sam said.
Breakfast is also available starting at 8:30 a.m. with meals running from $2.99 to $5.99. Sam’s French toast puffs are a popular item.
“I take Texas toast and cut it in triangles and dip it in a homemade batter and deep fry it, and coat it with powdered sugar,” he said.
In late July, the cafe will be open each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pan-fried chicken will be served, as well as baked ham or roast beef. Regular menu items won’t be available on Sunday.
On Saturday, Sam will be barbecuing ribs for the holiday weekend.
“It’s going to be what we call Red, White and Barbecue,” Shelly said.
For $8.99 customers will get ribs, baked beans and corn on the cob.
And don’t forget dessert and homemade ice cream floats, malts and sundaes that can be found every day at the cafe. For $1 a slice, one can savor a piece of strawberry lemonade cake made by Shelly. Floats cost $2.75, malts and shakes $3.99 and sundaes $2.50.
The Fareses plan to keep the costs of their food down.
“If you give people a good quality price, you’ll have happy people,” Shelly said. “Happy people is repeat business. Repeat business will keep you in business.
“That’s what I love about here, you’re able to be yourself and show your character and gather what the people want. People relate to real people.”
Pizza burger sliders
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
10 pieces pepperoni
1/2 cup pizza sauce (plus extra for topping)
Mix together in a bowl ground beef, diced onion and pepperoni; add 1/2-cup pizza sauce then pat out a 1 1/2-ounce burger.
Cook till done. Place on slider bun and top with pizza sauce, Mozzarella cheese, two black olives.
Recipe by Sam and Shelly Fares.