At home at the Back Door Cafe

Published 7:00pm Sunday, June 5, 2011

On this particular day, the morning is over and the afternoon sun is setting in with all its heat as Danielle Kaidan, owner of the Back Door Cafe in Buchanan, steps outside the kitchen for a few minutes.

Since the Niles High School grad bought the restaurant four years ago, she’s been keeping plenty busy turning the cafe into a place where regulars feel comfortable enough to give the Kaidan their orders before they even sit down.

“I knew I wanted to open up my own place,” Kaidan said, going back to 2003 to 2005 when she was in Chicago studying at Le Cordon Bleu.

She began looking for a place to buy, she said, intent on moving back home.

“I was sick of the city,” she said.

In her search, she found the Back Door Cafe at 115 North Redbud Trail in downtown Buchanan.
She took to the cafe style quickly, decorating the interior with a warm touch, accented by various teapots, local art and historical photos of the town and then set upon her menu.

“I focus on everything homemade,” Kaidan said.

The Back Door Cafe serves breakfast only, open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to noon, Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During that time, manning the kitchen is Kaidan herself, whipping up orders for customers with ingredients she says she tries to keep as fresh and local as possible.

“I shop local,” Kaidan said. “Anything I can buy at the farmer’s market, either the one here or the one in Niles,” will end up on the plate.

Kaidan is also growing some of her own fresh herbs and hot peppers just outside the restaurant’s rear entrance and she said customers are free to pick a little fresh basil or a jalapeno and hand it off to her on the way to the table to be added to their order.

“Pick it and hand it to me,” she said. “Everything is cooked to order and from scratch.”
It’s that kind of made to order operation that means when some of Kaidan’s “Sinna-Buns” or pean rolls are all out, customers may have to come back to catch one while it’s hot.

But one thing not on short order is Kaidan’s passion for what she does. In the future, she said she hopes to branch out into lunch and one day open up a high end bar with homemade pub food. In addition to the cafe, she’s keeping busy with specialty catering.

“This is my life,” she said. “This will always come first.”

Kaidan is proud to say the cafe has its regulars — and she knows what they want before they even get through the door.

That friendly atmosphere and service is what she says keeps people coming back.
“That’s why they come back,” she said. “I know them. I know what their food allergies are … I want this to be like as if you were going to have coffee at your friend’s house. I want to know everyone that’s in here. I want to know the face and the name and why did you come here?”

When she took over four years ago, Kaidan said establishing that atmosphere was a challenge. The restaurant had been through four owners in three years.

But she credits service, good prices and “my food’s better” as to why her customers keep coming back.
And with fresh ingredients, Kaidan said her customers get an experience where they can discover something new or find their favorites taste just as good as the first time, every time.

For more, visit the Back Door Cafe on Facebook or call 695-1332.

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