The newly named Lotus Leaf Cafe will open at the southwest corner of Second and Washington next to the new Taste & See. Both restaurants are in part of the former Doc Howard’s Lounge space.
“There’s so many more things I want to do,” owner Jacquelyn Keefer says of needing more space.
Her restaurant at 613 W. Douglas is 1,153 square feet with about 30 seats.
“It’s sad to say, but you have to be fairly thin to work there,” Keefer says of negotiating among the tables.
The kitchen is tiny, too, which she says means that what executive chef Rebecca Gold has been able to do is “miraculous.”
The new space, which will be ready in early April, is almost 2,000 square feet.
“The thought of what she can do with a real kitchen will be pretty amazing,” Keefer says of Gold.
There will be 52 seats inside and 14 on a patio.
The biggest change will be the addition of a juice and smoothie bar, “which is something we always really wanted to provide,” Gold says.
“We’re going to have a much larger menu … with a wider variety of foods,” she says.
The restaurant is all about serving nutritious food made from scratch with no preservatives. Gold says there will be more options to serve more palates, such as more gluten-free dishes.
Fish and seafood will be an addition as well. There also will be more desserts.
Gold describes the changes as “kind of like if you imagine our menu grew up.”
Keefer says there are other benefits to moving.
“The parking in Delano is a major issue,” she says. “Like it or not, Midwestern people just don’t really like to walk.”
Also, she says the roundabout in Delano is a problem.
“Nobody understands how to yield.”
Keefer says she likes how central Old Town is.
“Just being in a higher-traffic area also would be nice.”
Krista Lowry and Bree Kelley with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.
There is one thing Keefer says she’ll miss about Delano.
“I will definitely miss this small-town feel being down here,” she says. “That’s really the only thing I’ll miss about Delano.”