published Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Mom-daughter Sanders Café offers homemade fare

  • photo
    Nicki Brown, owner of Sanders Cafe in Spring City, Tenn., shows off a homemade apple cobbler before she delivers it to a customer. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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• Name: Sanders Café

• Location: 327 Front St. in Spring City, Tenn.

• Contact: 423-365-4049

• Products/services: Steaks, burgers, fried chicken, an array of sandwiches, salad, fries and onion rings, and homemade desserts such as apple cobbler and banana pudding. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with shorter hours on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Owner: Nicki Brown owns the restaurant but said she maintains it with help from her mother, Teddie Clark, and her sisters.

• Age: 37

• Inspiration behind the name: Brown said that she’d named the café after her family, who lived in Crossville, Tenn.

• Startup investment/anticipated annual sales: Brown said that she rents the restaurant space, but that startup costs were under $40,000.

• Price range of services: $2.99 for breakfast plates, up to $8.99 for entrees

• Biggest hurdle/challenges: Brown, a former bartender and waitress in her early 30s, said she had “always had a desire to feed the hungry,” but not necessarily those who couldn’t afford to pay. Clark, her mother, said she hoped it would eventually serve as an “outreach to feed the hungry and bless the community.”

• Lesson learned: After years of working at Fairfield Glade Resort on the Cumberland Plateau, and having insight in restaurants, Brown and Clark agreed that learning about exhaust systems and other costly, technical requirements was a daunting task.

• Five-year goal: Brown laughed. “To be a millionaire,” she said before darting off to fill a customer’s order.

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