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Gretchen Bonaduce, Le Cornucopia Cafe in Bisbee, Arizona, rated top percent of the world for lunch by Tripadvisor!

Gretchen Bonaduce, Le Cornucopia Cafe in Bisbee, Arizona, rated in the top 10 percent of the world for lunch by Tripadvisor!
Photo Credit To: David Day

Tucked away in the Exquisite town of Bisbee, Arizona, lies a gastronomic gem known as Le Cornucopia Café. This charming establishment has not just swept the town by storm, but has been recognized as one of the top 10 percent in the world for lunch by TripAdvisor, an accolade they cherish and strive to maintain. 

Reality TV star Gretchen Bonaduce, alongside her partner Kevin Kautzky, is the driving force behind this culinary success story. The convivial duo asserts that the recipe to their success is simple: Delicious food combined with a dedication to maintaining the café’s sterling reputation. 

The moment Bonaduce and Kautzky discovered that their favored eatery was up for sale, they pooled their resources and seized the opportunity. As Bonaduce aptly puts it, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Committed to preserving the quality and essence of the Café, the new ownership merely stoked the proverbial fire, enhancing the dining experience without obscuring its roots.

Operating a renowned eatery such as Le Cornucopia Café comes with its fair share of responsibilities. Daily management and quality control are shared between Bonaduce and Kautzky, whose duties, while often demanding, are executed with love for their craft. The duo shoulders an impressive array of tasks – from administrative work to hands-on restaurant chores such as dishwashing and the more idiosyncratic grocery shopping expeditions that culminate in hundreds of pounds worth of supplies, which must be stored and rotated correctly.

Enhancing the café’s operations is the remarkable team of chefs – Katie Harrelson, Chris Tucker, and Jutamanee Renee – who create tantalizing dishes guaranteed to make patrons’ mouths water. Harrelson, the head chef and kitchen manager, single-handedly decides each day’s menu. From the signature homemade quiche, pies, and soups to holiday-special delicacies, the team ensures each dish is crafted meticulously, heightening the overall dining experience. 

Indeed, calling Le Cornucopia Café’s menu varied would be an understatement. Apart from the staples, the kitchen staff whips up fresh bread every morning and serves an exquisite clam chowder on Fridays that draws in locals with an almost magnetic allure. Interestingly, the café also has an innovative approach to naming their pies. Case in point: ‘The Bobbie Brown Cherry Pie,’ named after Bonaduce’s friend who starred in Warrant’s iconic “Cherry Pie” music video. Naming dishes after friends, it appears, is but one of the many delightful quirks that enhance Le Cornucopia Café’s charm.

Fortunately, the staff’s dedication to culinary excellence hasn’t diminished their ability to have fun. Bonaduce concedes that while the small 25-seat kitchen can be intense, especially during lunch hours, they nonetheless enjoy their time together, even fantasizing about expanding to accommodate more diners and introduce live music.

So, what makes Le Cornucopia Café special? Its secret ingredient could very well be its commitment to excellence and the human touch embedded in every gastronomic creation. Critics have noticed, and the proof is in the pudding – or rather, the clam chowder and cherry pie. 

If you ever find yourself in Bisbee, Arizona, be sure to visit Le Cornucopia Café for a meal that promises to be a delightful treat. Women’s Journal had the chance to speak with Gretchen about her story. 

  1. What made you decide to own a restaurant? When I moved to tiny Bisbee, Arizona, I ate at this one restaurant every day as the food was so delicious! When it came up for sale,

My partner and I, Kevin Kautzky, decided it would be a tremendous investment, so we pooled our money and bought the restaurant and the building. It was rated number one on TripAdvisor and Yelp already, so we just wanted to come in and maintain the quality of the food and not screw with the menu too much. As they say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.  

  1. What are the responsibilities that come with being a restaurant owner? My partner and I oversee the daily operations. We have a tremendous staff that we count on to be sure things run smoothly and that our high-quality standards are met. We are fortunate to have three chefs who are immensely talented with our menu. Katie Harrelson, our head chef and kitchen manager, oversees the menu each day. She decides what our other two chefs (Chris Tucker and Jutamanee Renee) will prepare each morning as far as our homemade quiche, pies, and soups. We have our customers’ favorites that we make all the time, and on special occasions, we will add a holiday selection. My partner does the shopping every week, including several hundred pounds of groceries that have to be brought into the restaurant, stored properly and rotated. I can be found waiting tables or doing the dishes whenever the need arises. I very much enjoy waiting on the customers and getting feedback.  
  2. Tell us your daily routine. I run several Airbnbs in Bisbee, so as soon as I get up, I have my coffee, and then I start putting check-in info and payments through. Then I start cleaning the rooms, and if the restaurant needs supplies, I pause to run over what they might need for the day.  
  3. Who is the chef? We currently have three chefs. The head chef is Katie Harrelson, and Chris Tucker and Jutamanee Renee are the other two. 
  4. Tell us some funny kitchen stories. I don’t really have any funny kitchen stories as we are all business and serious about the food. Having said that, we usually have a great time working together. We only have 25 seats, so, at lunch, we are hustling to get the food out hot and fast as people are on lunch break. Also, because we are so small, it’s great to turn over the tables as many times as we can. Our dream would be to expand our seating, but that would entail a bigger building, though we are at max capacity, and we are not able to have outside seating as the sidewalk is too narrow.  
  5. Explain the menu. We serve homemade quiche, pie, sandwiches, and soup. The soups and quiche are different each day. On Fridays, we always serve clam chowder as our locals come in, especially on Fridays just for the soup. With our soup and salad, we serve a slice of our freshly made bread, which our chefs make each morning before the doors open.  
  6. We heard about the cherry pie. Why did you name it after your friend? 

My very close friend Bobbie Brown has come to town to see me several times. She was the girl in Warrant’s (the 80s hair band) video for the song “Cherry Pie.” When she is in town, it is the

“Bobbie Brown Cherry Pie,” and when my other friend Cherie Currie is in town, it’s billed as the “Chachacha Cherry Pie” LOL. Lucky for me, I have so many friends that I can use to help promote my cherry pie, right? 

  1. Do you have live music? We currently do not have live music, but one day, that would be nice. We are such a tiny restaurant we can’t really give up the seats to have music. Maybe one day, as I said, we will expand.  
  2. What makes your restaurant so special? 

Our place is so special because our food is so delicious. We are actually rated in the top 10 percent of the world for lunch by Tripadvisor! We are quite proud of that.  

  1. What are the links to the restaurant to check out the menu and reviews? 

LE CORNUCOPIA CAFE, Bisbee – Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number – Tripadvisor

CAFE CORNUCOPIA – 155 Photos & 185 Reviews – 14 Main St, Bisbee, Arizona – Sandwiches – Restaurant Reviews – Phone Number – Yelp

Le Cornucopia Café in Bisbee – Restaurant reviews (restaurantguru.com)

 

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