Kristin Alexander and Adrienne McNiff stand by the fireplace at the County Seat Coffeehouse in Mantorville with some of their gift items in the background. They will be having an anniversary celebration on Tuesday, August 15.
Photo by Karen Jorgensen
By Karen M. Jorgensen
It's been 10 years since friends Kristin Alexander and Adrienne McNiff decided to open a restaurant.
In the decade since the County Seat opened, the menu has changed depending on customer wishes but the enthusiasm of the two women has not diminished.
The two became acquainted when their daughters became friends in kindergarten and they had play dates together. As they got to know each other better they began to see what they had in common.
"We both realized at a church youth conference we had the same dream," Alexander said.
Neither woman had experience running a restaurant or any other business for that matter. McNiff's background was in the baking and cake decorating and Alexander had worked in advertising and marketing.
Once they made the decision things moved quickly. They closed on the building in early July and opened County Seat on Aug. 13, having bought equipment, readied the building and developed a menu in just over a month.
One of the first things they learned was that customers wanted a full breakfast not just baked goods so they expanded to full breakfasts.
"They liked them (the full breakfasts) so much we added all day breakfasts," McNiff said.
They had requests for vegetarian options, so they added those too. Then there were people asking for cheeseburgers so the two came up with a "cheeseburger panini."
Guests say they enjoy the homey atmosphere. There is a comfortable seating area by a fireplace and unique gift items adorn the store, offering a chance to browse while you wait for your panini.
Over the years they have also added an outdoor patio which has become popular.
They said they also found an unexpected niche that has proved to be popular - takeout lunches.