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Wildcats Wired


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Abbie Fleeman, Section Editor • May 16, 2024

Hardy’s Cafe is on its way

Culinary works hard to get school cafe open
Kenna Thornton
This was a saying used by former coach at Prosper High School, Timothy Hardy, who passed away in 2018 “He was a longtime coach in the district who passed away not too long ago from cancer, so it is our way to honor him,” said Brett Claypoole (Culinary arts instructor). So, really, this cafe is a way to recognize and show appreciation towards Coach Hardy.

It’s simple yet elegant. It’s indoor yet outdoor. It’s sweet yet savory. It’s more than just a student-run. It’s Hardy’s Cafe. 

It is coming soon. But, as the new cafe prepares for the doors to finally open, some things are still getting in order. However, no matter what is thrown their way, this program will push through as much as they possibly can. 

“We’re working as quickly as we can to get it open. But we’re not magicians,” Brett Claypoole said. “A lot of it is beyond us. We’re waiting on construction, we’re waiting for this person to come out, fix this or that. . . but we’re going to push through as much as we possibly can.” 

As the program moves forward and gets closer towards the opening, the staff starts to plan out what they want to do in the cafe itself.

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“By the end of the first semester, I’d like us to be at a place where we are producing all of our own bread and things from scratch. That’s a big goal of mine,” Matthew Denman, one of the Head Culinary instructors, said. “So, as of right now, we’ll be producing all of our own cakes, muffins, scones, cookies, and so on.”

However, this program will have more than just sweets and treats.

 “We’re going to try and merge a fine dining experience with our barbecue team and the food that they win countless awards for, “Denman said. “Obviously, because it’s a school, we’re not doing dinner service yet, so we’ll still have to keep it at an appropriate price point and ticket time because we know that teachers only have 30 minutes.”

Hardy’s Cafe also wants to take it one step further than the other two schools. And that is to introduce a reservation-only dinner that is open to the public.

“I want to do a couple of nights a month for dinner to welcome in the public. It’s a different atmosphere when people come in for dinner versus when they’re coming in for lunch,” Claypoole said. “It’s going to be reservation only, and we’ll do a lot more elegant fine dining, so more like a chef’s tasting menu. This helps the kitchen out, and it allows us to spend time really developing and perfecting the menu.” 

To go along with the “perfect menu,” as Claypoole puts it, you need a “perfect area” to serve it in. 

“The task for us is to create an elegant restaurant, but simple enough that everybody can enjoy. . .The color scheme, the chairs that were selected, the tables, all fit perfectly with what they want this space to be,” Denman said. 

What ties the restaurant all together is the cafe’s name, Hardy’s. The name was chosen as a way to commemorate or celebrate a former coach, Coach Hardy.

 “He was a longtime coach in the district who passed away not too long ago from cancer, so it is our way to honor him,” Denman said. “Something Coach Hardy used to say all the time was  ‘every day is a holiday.’ That saying is what helped create the overall design choice and theme for Hardy’s: simple yet elegant.”

The whole ‘every day is a holiday’ saying helps to lead into the bigger idea of the business; ‘simple yet elegant. Just knowing these basic parts that make up the cafe will tell you that this is a lot more than just some students running a school business.

 “So, you know, I’ve been doing this job for ten years now, and I tell people I’m not hoping to run the best student-run restaurant,” Denman said. “I’m just hoping to run the best restaurant. I don’t want people to associate it as being student-run. I just want people to know how good it is.” 

The public will be able to see this program develop over time, and those involved with the cafe will want an audience.

 “Let everybody know it’s coming,” Claypoole said. “And it’s going to be awesome, Incredible!”

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About the Contributor
Kenna Thornton
Kenna Thornton, Business Manager
Kenna Thornton is a sophomore at Walnut Grove High school. This is Kenna's first year on Wildcats Wired. She is on the Walnut Grove tennis team and enjoys spending time with her teammates at practice. She loves to cook, read, be outside, and hang out with friends.
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