- Her labor of love

Owner Stephanie Essary stands next to her unique Steph's Place sign.

A labor of love may be the best way to describe the way Stephanie Essary runs her business, Steph’s Place Cafe & Bakery, on the southwest corner of the Seymour square.

Several years ago, Essary had opened another business on the east end of Seymour’s city limits, focusing on making cakes and other desserts for a wide variety of events. Her skills became sought by many, but when the business closed, local residents had to find another outlet for her homemade goodies.

An open house for Steph’s Place Cafe & Bakery arrives from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at the restaurant’s new location at 202 West Washington Street on the southwest corner of the Seymour square.

For years, Essary pondered reopening, but with many people not believing the business could succeed, she shelved the idea until she ran the idea by her new husband, Caleb. He took the idea and ran with it, helping her to once again have the motivation to reopen a bakery and cafe.

“I owe all my businesses success and all of my motivation to my husband, who never stopped believing in this,” she said.

Last year, when Steph’s Place opened inside of Broncs & Babes on the west side of the square, the business grew as more and more people heard just how good her food was and just how amazing her prices were for the quality of the product.

“I wanted prices to be low, so that you wouldn’t have to worry about the price, and you could just simply enjoy the food,” Essary said. She added that she’s “not here to make a huge profit, but instead to make people happy and bring them together.”

Her business recently made a move to the southwest side of the square at 202 West Washington Street, located adjacent (on the right side of the building) to Michael Kyle’s American Family Insurance agency.

This move created more space, a bigger kitchen and a place to call her own. The move happened, then COVID-19 struck.

But her business did not slow; instead, it rapidly grew.

Increased delivery and call-in orders are what Essary said she never expected to happen. She even said that the national pandemic has “boosted her business.”

This boost of business was terrific in deciding the next steps in her business.

After being asked time and time again if and when breakfast would be served, Essary said that this Thursday morning she will open at 8 a.m. and serve breakfast for the first time to local diners.

“I am doing this because my customers asked for breakfast, so I’m optimistic it will be successful,” Essary said.

Each day, the restaurant has daily specials, including a homemade soup.

There also are different daily desserts, as well as custom drinks, such as fruit smoothies.

Customers also can order from the regular menu, featuring a variety of sandwiches and wraps. Every Friday, the special is cashew chicken with crab rangoon, a very popular offering.

Steph’s Place is open every day, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If success is found in serving breakfast, then those regular hours will expand.

Essary added that when the historic Owen Theatre reopens later this summer, her business will be open to serve concert patrons before and after the shows.

Customers can call in orders at 417-209-7234.

Delivery also is available.

“I can’t thank the people of Seymour enough for their support since I opened on the west side of the square,” she concluded.

“Their support has been overwhelming.”

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