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Hope's career in food service comes Full Circle

July 30, 2002|by Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

After opening her tea and coffee cafe only four months after acquiring the Keedysville building, former Town Councilwoman Yvonne Hope said her next step will be to "get some sleep."

Hope, 47, bought the building at 38 N. Main St. in July 2001 and transformed the former Woman's Christian Temperance Hall into the Full Circle Cafe, one of the few commercial businesses in Keedysville.

Hope said she swore for 30 years she would never work in food service again after working in a Columbia, Md., restaurant.

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"No matter what direction my career went, I always came back to food service," Hope said. "That's why I call it the Full Circle Cafe."

The cafe serves a variety of loose teas, ranging from green to black. One of Hope's favorites, she said, is Rooibos tea. It has more than twice the amount of antioxidants that green teas contain.

She said her customers swear it alleviates the common cold. "I've been steadily converting people to loose tea from coffee around here," she said.

Although the cafe serves coffee, Hope said she "wanted to do something different, and from a practical standpoint, selling coffee is expensive ... I was surprised to see how much tea was out there. I learned as I went, and now I blend some of my own."

Glass tea kettles and coffeepots filled with teas and coffee beans line the cafe's shelves along the cash register. A papier-mach teapot and mug hang from the ceiling. The ceiling and floor are made from locally crafted wood.

An old coffee grinder stands next to the tea shelves at the cafe's entrance, and a piano sits in the back. The cafe holds about 50 people.

Hope said she has increased the hours of operation because of the growing number of customers. Lunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The cafe is open from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. She is considering opening earlier Sunday for brunch.

The cafe offers soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and full meals for dinner. Customers can choose from two or three dinners each evening. Hope said her spinach fettuccine with shrimp, and ham with green beans and red potatoes are popular.

She also makes her own desserts, including chocolate cake and pear pie.

Marcus Knight of Brunswick, Md., said the food is "fantastic."

"Come in Sunday for the scallops. They're the special main dinner," he said. "This place is a find, believe me."

Seasonal employee Jacki Stranathan of Keedysville lived in England and said Hope's cafe is authentic. "She puts the same tea servers at every table that you see in England," Stranathan said.

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