DINING GUIDE: Canton cafe owner continues family tradition

Cheryl Everhart, owner of Cheryl’s Cafe in Canton, works hard, serves good homemade food, and offers fun to her customers-and has been doing so for 17 years.

“I think the business must run in the family,” said Everhart, whose mother and step-father formerly owned the Olde Towne Restaurant in Hillsboro and a restaurant in Durham.

Her grandparents, Ed and Della Farrell, owned the cafe in Canton when she was a little girl. Everhart remembers it being a part of her life while growing up.

In later years, the Farrells sold the restaurant to someone outside of the family. The new owners kept it only a short time before offering it to Everhart in 1984.

Everhart, who is also a decorator and does some handcrafts in her spare time, enjoys offering homemade dishes to her customers.

“We have no packaged gravy, instant or frozen potatoes,” she said. “Even our french fries are homemade.”

Cafe hours are 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Saturday; 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

On each day, a dinner special is offered with a salad, mashed potatoes, a choice of vegetable, and a choice of one or two meats-or sometimes a meat entree and casserole.

Wednesday evening offers the breakfast menu for supper, Thursday night is Mexican food, and Friday night is for “Iron Skillet Fried Chicken” and pan-fried catfish.

Sunday lunch offers three dinner specials only, and the grill is not on.

“Our very busiest time is Sunday noon,” Everhart said. “We serve about 120 people, sometimes more, in an hour and a half.”

“They come from all over,” said Mandy Brown, one of two full-time workers. “People drive here from McPherson, Hillsboro and around the area after church.”

Everhart said people come from greater distances because of the Maxwell Game Preserve.

“We have had people here from Germany, England and Japan,” she said, “Maxwell has been a big help to us.”

In 1994, Everhart and partner Naomi Morris opened the Back Porch Gift Shop, located in the back of the cafe.

“Naomi is my partner in everything,” Everhart said. “We like to have fun. It is a fun sideline. We have pottery, old china, a number of gift items, and antiques for sale.”

“The antiques attract a lot of people to the gift shop,” Brown said.

Everhart offers her customers a unique service once a year: a “Customer Appreciation Day,” which takes the form of a Victorian tea.

This year’s seventh annual Victorian Tea will be Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6.

“It is a lot of fun,” said Everhart. “We decorate the back dining room, and Naomi and I dress up and serve tea. In the morning we set up a table with all kinds of sweets and at noon we have little finger sandwiches. And it’s all free to our public.”

Everhart said the front part of the restaurant is open for business as usual for customers who want to come in for a meal or coffee.

The Victorian Tea party was such a success that Everhart decided to try other special events and now holds them throughout the year. The Tea Party is free to the public, but the other parties cost $1 per person to attend.

On April 28 from noon to 4 p.m. they will offer a come-and-go “Garden Party.”

Everhart says there will be clay pots holding dips and vegetables, fruit pizza and, of course, Kansas dirt pudding for the menu.

June 30 will be the second annual “Teddy Bear Tea Party.” Everyone must bring a teddy bear to the party. “I even have them put their bear’s name in the guest book.”

The menu for such an event will include teddy-bear cookies, cupcakes and sherbet.

“It takes a lot of time to do all this,” Everhart said, “but my husband, Wayne, is a good guy and helps me in my projects. He lets me ‘do my own thing.”

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