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New Owner Teri Rose Aims to Continue Eatery’s Success

Photographer / Heidi Pruitt

Main Street CafeIf it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.

That’s Teri Rose’s philosophy so far as the new owner of Kokomo’s Main Street Cafe.

“The previous owners have done a fabulous job,” says Rose, who was born and raised in Kokomo. “The cafe has been compared to a Cheers atmosphere, and it is literally like that – when someone walks in the door, you know their name. People come back to it daily. If I can take what the owners have done and continue it, and maybe enhance a few things, I’ll be happy.”

Main Street Cafe, a breakfast and lunch eatery, became available for purchase last summer, and initially Rose, who opened Nonni’s Pizza on South Home Avenue in 2017, wasn’t interested in an additional project.

“I didn’t want two businesses at the same time, but people kept sending me a link to the property online, and things just aligned and I found that it was a really good opportunity that I could not pass up,” Rose says.

In early January, Rose officially took the reins from former Main Street Cafe owners Sandra Young and her husband Morgan, who opened the establishment in 2012.

“Sandra has done a fabulous job with her menu items and creating this very cool atmosphere in this little cafe, which started out as a coffee shop with a little food and is now a lot of food and a little coffee,” Rose says.

Main Street CafeThe cafe menu includes breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches, muffins and bagels, as well as lunch items such as wraps, paninis, salads and sandwiches. The drink menu features a range of signature espressos, smoothies, hot and iced coffees and teas, apple cider, hot chocolate and more.

Rose plans to add a small beer and wine selection to the drink offerings and also add a few dishes from Nonni’s to the food menu.

“I’ve always intended to bring in pieces of my other menu,” Rose says. “I have a homemade meatball that was my father’s recipes and a very thin, cracker-crust pizza that no one else in Kokomo has. Those things line up perfectly with the menu style at the cafe, which is light and healthy. And I think the beer and wine thing will be a great addition. Who doesn’t like beer and pizza?”

Rose plans to expand the cafe’s hours of operation by March as well.

“In order for the cafe to grow as a concept we have to have more space and to relocate would destroy it,” Rose adds. “I’m looking at knocking out a wall and opening it up a little. Right now it’s very limited on space.”

Rose formerly worked in the manufacture, repair and overhaul distribution industry for many years until 2007, a year when, unfortunately, tragedy struck.

“On Easter Sunday in 2007 my son was killed in Iraq,” Rose says. “That changed things, and I eventually felt the need to step away from traveling so much and find something new and different. I started to get involved with local veteran advocacy.”

Rose eventually found herself immersed in the nonprofit world, working as an employment specialist with a partial focus on disabled military veterans.

Main Street CafeAfter a stint with another Kokomo-based nonprofit that assisted in the development of an apartment building for homeless vets, and a subsequent position with the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund, Rose decided to pursue a more personal passion and open her own eatery.

“I loved every minute of the nonprofit work, but it was time after that to do something I personally wanted to do,” Rose says. “It just so happened that my Nonni’s location, which had historically been a pizza place, came up for sale. I talked to a realtor friend of mine and determined that it would be a good fit for me.”

Rose continues to run Nonni’s while operating Main Street Cafe.

“I also hope to build out the catering business at the cafe quite a bit more,” she adds. “That’s something that Sandra offered, and there’s room for growth with the catering. With Kokomo growing downtown and the event center being built, I really want to reach more and more people. I’m excited to give back to the community through the business, not just for military and veterans, but also all the other great nonprofits in Kokomo.”

Main Street Cafe is located at 223 North Main Street in Kokomo. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, including catering and delivery details as well as a dine-in food and drink menu, call 765-236-1600 and visit mainstcafe.org.

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