January 27, 2021

Welcome to Kelsey’s Kitchen

Mingo native opens restaurant at former Blue Ribbon Cafe in Baxter

Mason jars, buffalo plaid curtains, flowers and a fireplace, Kelsey’s Kitchen brings the home cooked meal feelings with the food to back it up. Located at the former Blue Ribbon Cafe in Baxter, owner Kelsey Reed brought a vision that had been cooking up for several years to life to help serve a community she loves.

“I used to work here as a cook several years ago and I always kind of thought ‘I can do this,’ so it has been an idea in the back of my head for five or six years,” Reed said.

The Cafe, which closed in 2020 due to COVID conditions, was sitting empty when Reed decided to take the next step.

“I reached out to them and said your building is sitting there empty, what are you going to do with it?” Reed said.

A Mingo native and Baxter graduate, Reed spent the next few months preparing to open, gathering data and readjusting her life for the new venture.

“I farm with my dad so I would go to work there all day then come here all night. Now, I will just be here all of the time,” Reed said. “I did a lot of Facebook polls asking what people would like to eat, what kind of hours would they like. Try to make as many people happy as I can.”

Open for family hours, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, the kitchen will be serving up daily specials along with cafe favorites.

“All of the specials are made from scratch, homemade and a lot are our family recipients that I have asked them to collaborate with me,” Reed said.

Opening day featured Million Dollar Spaghetti with garlic bread and a side salad.

“It is kind of like spaghetti and lasagna mixed together with cream cheese, really fattening, really good,” Reed said.

Classics such as burgers, Phillies, a wide variety of fried favorites including pickles, cheese balls and shoestring onion rings along with all day breakfast are a part of the menu. Kids choices and gluten free options are also available.

Putting your heart, sweat and probably some tears into a new business can be scary, but the return for Reed has so far been great.

“Today went OK, I was really nervous nobody would show up because of COVID and I haven’t had a second to breathe this morning, it has been really busy,” Reed said.

Lines formed as seating restrictions were put into place because of the pandemic. Reed is also offering online ordering and a carry out window to serve the community.

With an ambiance of Grandma’s house for the holidays and big homemade meals to “get you full,” Kelsey’s Kitchen is a good and delicious time out.

“I am excited to make sure everything work and runs smoothly. I’m trying to make everything as efficient as possible, I’ve rearranged and rearranged again, and again the kitchen,” Reed said. “I am excited for the town to have a place to go eat rather than having to go Des Moines or Newton, having something in their own town.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com