Queen Anne’s Lace is a great little café in Numbchuck.
It’s operated by Nell and Pat. They came to Florida from Minnesota, where they both had had corporate jobs. They both got to a place where they hated the corporate scene, the slaving away for the guy in the tie, the dressing up to impress the person in the next cubicle, and crap like that.
They took a huge plunge when they sold their home in Minneapolis, left their corporate jobs, and moved to Florida with the express intent of starting a restaurant together and retiring here.
I first found their café after they’d been in business for a couple of years. They were leasing space beside a historic hotel in the downtown area of Numbchuck. It was a cool space.
The café proper was in the main space beside the hotel. But there was a very cool patio area behind the café. It adjoined an outdoor courtyard that belonged to the next door hotel.
The courtyard/patio had covered tables with chairs arranged around the bricked flooring, and there were lots of tropical plants in pots and beds around the sides of the courtyard. It was kind of like a little oasis back there. Because it was behind the café, it was removed from the street and so was very quiet.
Nell and Pat’s food was great from day one. They had menu items that were unique and interesting. Sandwiches with unusual filling combinations that were delicious; rich and hearty soups; salads created with unique blends of greens; quiches; cold and hot pastas; desserts that enticed you the second you walked in because individual portions were on display in the glass case near the register.
I ate at Nell and Pat’s several times and then got busy for about a year and just didn’t get back there. When my schedule opened up, I went for a quick lunch and was astounded to find that they weren’t there any more.
Surely they hadn’t gone out of business? I wondered. I Googled them and discovered that they were still in Numbchuck but had moved to a new location.
I tracked them down to a place in a store front in a strip mall type of area across town.
It didn’t have nearly the charm of the original place. I asked Nell why they had moved. Unbelievably, it was because of a drug problem at the last location! A drug problem in Numbchuck? I was floored.
Nell said that several times over a period of a couple of months, they had found syringes on the sidewalk outside the café. The first time, they had complained to the property manager, who said he would take care of it. The next time, they started looking for a new place to lease. The third time, they gave notice the same day and had moved within six weeks.
So even though the new location lacked the charm of the first location, it was drug free and that meant a lot to Nell and Pat.