Eclectic goodness is found at The Mason Jar Cafe and Bakery in downtown Sedalia stemming from the aroma of cookies, cakes and pies to chicken and noodles and soon to be Cajun food and on to the decor mix of nautical, New Orleans and the life size wooden Holstein cow resting in the front window.
The cafe is owned by Penny Nichols, formerly of Marshall, and her daughter Char “Beanie” Klein, of Hughesville, who runs the bakery end of things. The cafe had a soft opening during the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in early June, but formally opened Wednesday.
Nichols just retired from Marshall Habilitation Center and she’d also previously owned and cooked at a bar in Sedalia, located at Main Street and Grand Avenue, for several years.
“The Blue Gator,” Klein said. “She had it for 13 years and I think it was nine years ago that she closed it. She cooked down there, she had gumbo and burgers.”
Klein said, after retiring, her mother wanted to start cooking again and since she also was in the baking business they decided to start a joint venture.
On Wednesday morning inside Beanie’s Bakery, nestled in the front northwest corner of the cafe, Klein took chocolate chunk cookies from the oven as she moved around her mother who was cooking chicken and noodles.
“I do all specialty cakes,” she said. “And then I do pies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins and cake pops.”
Klein also makes wedding cakes and goodies for events. The pastry case at the cafe unfortunately is broken but when the new one arrives the bakery line will expand.
“When we get our pastry case, we’ll do whole pies especially for this fall,” Klein added.
They will sell pie by the slice and also whole pies for Thanksgiving. Cookies at the cafe come in all varieties such as delicious lemon with white chocolate and blueberries, chocolate chunk, and oatmeal raisin.
Pricing is reasonable at The Mason Jar. Cookies are sold in packages of two for 75 cents; cupcakes are $1 a piece.
“I made for Scott Joplin mini coconut cream pies,” she said. “I made them in a Mason jar lid — that way it’s nice to have your own little pie.”
Klein sells her mini pies for $2 each.
The cafe runs specials everyday. On opening day they served a corned beef sandwich and an avocado shrimp salad. Specials for Thursday were pastrami sandwiches and chicken and noodles.
Customers will be glad to know the Mason Jar has a soda shop, complete with a counter and swiveling stools.
“It’s got the full thing, malts and shakes and sundaes, root beer floats and Italian sodas,” she said. “Iced coffee and coffee and ice cream. It’s fun, that’s her weakness. She says ice cream should be one of the food groups.”
Although Nichols loves ice cream, she’s the main cook for the savory foods served at lunch. She has one specialty she plans to introduce this fall for customers.
“My specialty is Cajun food,” she said. “Some of those (specialties) will be gumbo. I used to sell a lot of gumbo. Friday night was always gumbo night. And shrimp etouffee, dirty rice, red beans and rice and bread pudding. A lot of people don’t know bread pudding is Cajun.”
Although Nichols has never been to New Orleans, her expertise at Cajun cooking comes from her grandmother, Delima Daigle.
“My family is one of the original Cajun families on my grandmother’s side,” she added. “My grandmother’s recipes are a lot of them, she ran a boarding house.”
At present customers are enjoying her popular chicken salad sandwich.
“Which everybody seems to love,” she said. “We were open during Scott Joplin and they ate a lot of it then and then yesterday for our opening it was gone.”
Sandwich prices are reasonable, running from $5 for pastrami to $2.25 for a hot dog. The Mason Jar also offers salads and appetizers.
The decor in the cafe is quaint with one corner decked out with a New Orleans style, one corner featuring movie and music themes, and one corner with a nautical feel.
“It’s a mix of all kinds of things,” Klein said. “She loves nautical — this is how my parents decorated their house.”
Klein said when they get the back kitchen completed they plan to be open for breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner twice a week.
Nichols added they will be expanding the kitchen area to include a full grill, stove and deep fryers.
“Right now we’re kind of limited, but we can be creative,” she added.
She is also very grateful to have found the building for the cafe.
“We want to provide a comfy, homey experience,” she said. “I have the greatest landlady in the world (Becky Imhauser), she has helped me so much. She’s always so happy and chipper — she’s just an inspiration she really is.”
Heather Bennett, Klein’s sister-in-law, of Sedalia, is planning a website for the cafe and does all the Facebook posts and photos.
“We might sign up for Twitter and Instagram accounts as well,” Bennett added.
The Mason Jar, located at 217 S. Ohio Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Beanie’s Bakery takes orders for cakes, pies and other pastries; call Klein at 619-0824. The cafe can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/The-Mason-Jar-Cafe-and-Bakery/755600911183085.