By Beth Bily
There’s a new restaurant in town in Bovey, offering up soup and sandwiches, salads, sweet treats and soft serve ice cream - along with a wide variety of beverages.
Nana Chelle’s Café opened for business over Memorial Day weekend, operating from leased space in Annabelle’s Antique Mall on Second Street. For owner Rachelle Ireland and partner Todd Fideldy, the opening was the realization of a years-long dream.
“It’s something Todd and I have looked at for a long time,” said Ireland. “We had our business plan put together and when I saw the (Annabelle’s Antiques) sign looking to lease, Nana Chelle’s was born.”
The name of the restaurant is a combination of Ireland’s own name and Fideldy’s grandmother, Nana. The recipes used also rely on family history. Ireland’s own grandmother, Gladys Hammargren provided some of the inspiration for the menu.
“A lot of the recipes are Scandinavian and will be familiar to many people here,” she said.
Although Ireland has a business background mostly in advertising and marketing, the restaurant business isn’t new to her. She’s worked at D.J’s Balsam Café, the Harbor and Pokegama Golf Course, adding that she also has “a passion to cook.” Fideldy has experience in the resort and restaurant business as well.
The upstart restaurant’s tagline is more than a marketing gimmick, said Ireland, it’s also a philosophy - “great food, made from scratch everyday.” The owners also strive to be affordable, with menu items under $10.
In addition to standard sandwich fare, Nana Chelle’s also will offer some Scandinavian specialties. Ireland said they’ll be offering a Swedish potato pancake specialty dish beginning next fall. She adds, however, that what sets her restaurant apart is the large selection of specialty coffee and teas and even Italian cream sodas.
The menu will reflect a farm to table, sustainable philosophy – with a nod to history. Ireland likes using locally produced food products whenever possible. Even the décor has a sustainable and historical slant – featuring dining tables made from reclaimed wood from the former St. Joseph’s Church and School. The building itself has a long history once utilized as the largest hardware store in Itasca County.
“I love being in a building with so much history,” said Ireland.
Nana Chelle’s will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with delivery available to the Trout Lake boat landing. The menu is largely lunch fare, but they will be serving a Sunday brunch of Belgian waffles, eggs, sausage links, fruit and coffee. If the brunch is successful, Ireland said the restaurant could expand to a breakfast menu.
While the food will be the main draw, Nana Chelle’s has other amenities planned in the coming months such as book signings and appearances by local musicians. For the restaurant’s grand opening last weekend, author Frank Anselmo was on hand signing his work, “The Ghost Lake Chronicles.”
Nana Chelle’s is located at 407 Second Street Bovey. They can be reached by phone at 218-245-2233. Free WiFi is available to customers.