The old proverbial breakfast bell is clanging on Thursday morning with doors opening at 8 a.m. with an open house for customers old and new at Tony and Mrs. K’s café by a very special woman who has a passion for her customers as well as for her menus. It is a joy to call her my friend.
It’s a celebration and love for Artemis Vourakis’ customers two years after opening her restaurant in 2013 and naming it after her parents Tony and Kostoula Vourakis: Tony and Mrs. K’s and its associated car wash is located at the corner of Yosemite and Cottage avenues where breakfast is serve all day with the kitchen closing at 3 p.m.
The open house will offer the sampling of fresh pastries, breads, breakfast and lunch items plus their fresh roasted coffees without charge.
“They were very special people in my life,” she said of her parents, “who represented the millions of what I call, the silent majority that made this country great.”
Her dad lived to 106 and her mother was not taking a single pill when she died at 94 – truly examples of good country living, she noted.
Artemis had developed quite a breakfast crowd early-on in her restaurant during those first two years until she experienced staff difficulties that necessitated temporarily curtailing the early morning menu. Now that the staff issues have been resolved, getting back her regulars has been difficult. She has hired a new full-time chef and pastry baker to guarantee the sumptuous and delightful menu items that had become almost instantly popular.
Her parents had immigrated to the Manteca area leaving behind their native homeland with little money, but bringing their language, culture, religions principles and hard work ethics to raise a family. She added that their main goal was to work and give their children a better life and opportunities than what they had left behind.
Artemis remembers growing up as a child in Manteca and experiencing family at its best.
“We were poor, but never knew it because there was always plenty of good food,” she quipped.
“Visitors to our home never left without my mother preparing a spread in a short time and feeding everyone,” she added.
The Vourakis home always had a garden with fresh vegetables and herbs for use in her mom’s kitchen. “There is nothing like eating a peach, apricot, per, plum, cherries and the like straight from the trees,” the café owner added.
She said she can still taste her dad’s grapes, seeds and all, from the vines including sweet Thompsons, dark riebers, and lady fingers – now nowhere to be found.
“My mom was always prepared for the winter months by canning tomato sauce, peaches, pears, cherries and, of course, olives. Fresh beans and corn from the garden were always in the freezer,” she said.
With every feast, there was always fresh homemade bread – with breakfast toast, there was always homemade jam and something sweet for the coffee, she chimed.
Through Tony and Mrs. K’s she wanted to compete with all the fast food places in Manteca. “I wanted to give the community a taste of what it was like growing up in Manteca with family, friends, a comfortable environment, hospitality, laughter and always plenty of good food,” she said.
She said she is trying to “recreate the past” by offering fresh food made from scratch, from the mayonnaise to the salad dressing and sauces to the house made breads and the pastries – with all the soups and broths made from scratch too.
“With my newly hired chef Tim Alvarado-King and baker Norman Carter, I am hoping to make everyone’s experience here a welcoming place to meet family and friends,” she said.
Their website is TonyandMrsK.com and a well-kept secret is that she is now offering a tri-tip mushroom melt with provolone cheese.
To contact Glenn Kahl email email@example.com or call 209.249.3539