The “Spiced Apple Cafe” is officially opening at 5 a.m. on Monday, January 22 on Highway 54 in Vandalia.
In recent weeks, owner James Culver and his wife Rhonda have been putting together the finishing touches on work being done at the location of the former “Country Cupboard,” which closed during the Summer of 2017.
They have also worked hard to fill up their staff roster through the hiring process.
More about the “Spiced Apple Cafe”
Owner James Culver is about to serve food to area residents in a building he literally grew up in as a child.
James’ grandmother Ara Ogden, along with his grandfather C.P. Ogden, had the former “Freez N’ Snack” building constructed at Oak St. and Highway 54.
He grew up eating breakfast at the restaurant and would spend time with his mother Cheryl Culver, who was an employee of the location. She worked at one time six and a half days a week at the restaurant while James was a youngster.
His grandparents also owned “Oggie’s Place,” just down the street.
“I grew up in this building and at Oggie’s Place,” said James Culver, who told the Leader in a previous interview that he could remember standing on a milk crate and flipping burgers as a child. “…I was here as long as I could walk.”
He also remembered his grandma Ogden pulling him out of school so he could see the asphalt being put in at the location.
His grandparents sold the building, that once seated 25-30 customers, in 1984.
“I always remember grandma saying she wished she never sold this place,” James noted.
With a rich, family history in the restaurant business, James said he’s excited to carry on a tradition started by his grandma Ara.
The “Spiced Apple Cafe” will be featuring broasted chicken, something Ara was known for at “Oggie’s Place” in the past.
“Broasted chicken just like grandma use to do,” he said.
The name of the business was inspired a little by the late Grandma Ogden, who passed in 2015. James remembered grandma loved apples and Rhonda was quick to point out that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
“He knows the business,” Rhonda Culver said.
The Culvers officially closed on their purchase on August 11. Since then, they have worked hard to upgrade the infrastructure. There is now an upgraded water line, gas line, new kitchen floor, a new walk-in cooler/freezer combination, and much more. A lot of work was done by the couple, along with a few helpers working hard on certain projects.