SHERBURN - As lunch hour begins to wrap up, many of the tables are still full at the Cup and Saucer Cafe on Sherburn's Main Street.
"We've been very busy, but it's a true blessing," said Elizabeth Lintelman.
She and her husband Seth now run the Sherburn cafe after being selected as the winners of an essay contest this past spring. The competition was hosted by Martin County EDA, with help from business students at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.
Seth and Elizabeth Lintelman are busy working in the kitchen at the Cup and Saucer Cafe in Sherburn. The couple took over the cafe at the start of the month.
Seth was the sous chef at the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka, while Elizabeth holds a master's degree in business administration, making them a perfect duo to take over the Cup and Saucer.
"It's a learning process," Elizabeth said. "We've been in the restaurant business for years, but we've never run our own restaurant. There's lots to take into consideration."
Because the cafe was already open, the Lintelmans took over seamlessly.
There are some slight changes in the Cup and Saucer, however, and patrons are getting to try a few new things, many inspired by locally grown produce.
"There are some slight variations from the menu," Elizabeth said. "We try to feature locally sourced items for our breakfasts and lunch."
There are a few tamer items on the menu, such as the breakfast favorites of pancakes and eggs, and ham or turkey sandwiches. But for those feeling adventurous, there is the daily special. On this day, the lunch special is an asparagus and goat cheese omelet, served with a side salad.
"The asparagus was donated to us, and so were the lettuce and radishes," Elizabeth said. "They were all picked fresh yesterday."
Another new favorite is the carrot ginger soup.
"We sell out of that one every time we have it," Elizabeth said.
Other favorites have been the asparagus scramble with hash browns and homemade Hollandaise sauce, eggs Benedict, and a rhubarb and cream-cheese stuffed french toast.
"We have a Facebook page, and we've posted some pictures of these dishes on there," Elizabeth said. "We've had people come in who said they did because of the pictures they saw."
"It's a balancing act," Seth Lintelman admits. "You don't want to go too far that they get put off, but you also want to show them there's more out there."
"I think they're excited to try something a little different," Elizabeth said. "Like the other night we had a coconut curry chicken soup. Most people never have had it, but are willing to give it a try."
With using as much local product as possible, Seth admits he will need to get creative come winter. But he already has some ideas.
"In the summer, I don't serve up the hearty meat and potatoes-type meals, but in winter, you'll see more of those," he said.
The Cup and Saucer certainly isn't a burger joint.
"That's because there's no grill and no fryer," Elizabeth said.
Currently, the menu is limited to a few items and the daily special due to kitchen equipment.
"We have a four-burner stove and an oven that's temperamental," Elizabeth said. "We're also hand-washing dishes now, so we're hoping to get a dishwasher."
Along with the Lintelmans, there are four part-time wait staff at the Cup and Saucer.
"Some people who were here before came out of retirement to help Gene (Schleppmann, who reopened the Cup and Saucer last fall) but now have gone back into retirement," Elizabeth said. "So we hired a few high school girls to help out."
Not only has the food been a learning adventure, but the community is also embracing the Lintelmans. Despite their busy breakfast and lunch crowds, they seem to manage to take a little time to chat with the customers.
"We're very pleased with how the community has received us and the food we do," Elizabeth said.
And the adjustment to small-town Minnesota from the Twin Cities atmosphere hasn't been difficult. Seth is originally from Fairmont, where the couple and their infant daughter now reside.
"I love every minute of it," she admits. "People here have just been wonderful. They've made us feel welcome. ... I'm looking forward to partnering with local farms and having the most local product we can."
The Cup and Saucer's hours of operation are from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.