PAOLA — Steve and Daphne Grandon are right where they want to be.
The view from behind the counter of their new restaurant 4ganix at 3 W. Wea St. tells the story of why they both agreed to become small business owners in Steve’s hometown of Paola. Daphne has abandoned corporate America to dedicate her time to 4ganix, while Steve will remain in his position as a consultant while supporting the restaurant as often as his schedule allows.
On any given day you might find a longtime friend chatting with Steve, Daphne or another member of the large extended Grandon family while sipping a freshly-brewed coffee, latte or smoothie.
At one of the tables you might find a local businessman taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to type up a report on his laptop while also enjoying a sandwich, wrap or bowl filled with fresh ingredients from local producers.
Frequently throughout the day a car will pull up to the stop sign at the intersection of Pearl and Wea streets or a community member will walk past the corner building and say hello to the Grandons with a honk of the horn or a wave of the hand.
And during the slower times of the day, the Grandons can take a moment to simply enjoy the view of Paola’s Park Square, which is laid out before them in front of their building that formerly housed the Paola Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a beautiful town square,” said Daphne, who grew up in Arkansas but instantly fell in love with Paola thanks to a photo of the snow-covered Square that Steve sent her about 10 years ago.
Daphne said she’s always loved little bistros and coffee shops that can typically be found across from historic courthouses. When the building became available on the southeast corner of Park Square, she pitched the idea of opening up their own business to Steve.
Daphne loves to cook and previously worked in the restaurant business in Arkansas before heading into the corporate world. Steve was supportive of the plan, and the couple spent much of 2018 working out the details of the business and renovating the interior.
Family is a common theme throughout the restaurant, as material from the Grandon family farm was used to make a portion of the front counter, and family photos are set to adorn the walls as decor.
Even the name stems from family. Steve has three daughters and Daphne has one, and they all have helped with the new business venture. The four girls and healthy menu options led to the name “4ganix.”
Daphne said it was important for her to offer healthy food options. Their menu includes salads, sandwiches and bowls that customers can create and customize using a variety of bread, meat, cheese and vegetable options.
“We are getting acquainted with local farmers, and we want to be supplied by them locally,” Daphne said.
The bowls have been one of the most popular menu items so far.
“We’ve sold more protein bowls than we have sandwiches,” Daphne said.
Daphne also offers daily specials for under $10. Some of the recent specials featured items such as a Philly chicken sandwich topped with grilled onions, mushrooms and bell peppers served on a French hoagie with a side of roasted potatoes, or a pork rice bowl topped with arugula cilantro apple carrot slaw and served with multi-grain chips and salsa or a number of other specialties, such as quesadillas, burgers and more.
“Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless,” said Daphne, who is also taking online classes and soon will be a certified nutritionist.
The Grandons did a soft opening in December, but their full-time hours didn’t kick off until the start of the year. The business is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and Thursday through Friday, as well as from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Wednesdays.
Daphne said she is doing her best to accommodate customers in a time crunch on lunch breaks, but she also wants people to realize the food is made fresh, so it may take a bit longer than fast food restaurants. She is encouraging people to download and utilize the business’ new order ahead and loyalty app.
For those looking to pull up a chair and stay awhile, though, Daphne said the door will always be open.
“I love to hear the sound of customers relaxing and enjoying themselves,” Daphne said. “It’s about community. We wanted to give back to the town.”