by Laura Sidsworth
* 15 years catering experience
* 1 dream long-desired
* 1 prayer answered
* 2 watchful eyes on a desired property (with a great location)
* 1 amazing Aunt Helen (who pitched in financially & artfully with interior design)
* 1 semi-rehab of Victorian-like cottage
* 1 newly built garden gazebo (complete with masters for hot summer days & heaters for cooler ones)
* 3 truckloads of dirt from Uncle Larry Raven farm
* 1 basketball team to shovel out three inches of rock from backyard
* New landscaping, lighting, fountains, umbrellas and speakers (to emulate Paula’s favorite destinations, Disney and the coast)
* Many wonderful recipes from her favorite bakers and teachers—her own grandmothers, Bella and Rose
* An assortment of hand-selected collectibles from Aunt Helen’s travels to and from her annual golf tournament in Arizona (chairs, tables, artwork)
* Miniature tree roses brought from her Grandma Rose’s home; lovingly transplanted to honor her memory and keep her treasured plants with the family
* Paintings that adorn the wall, painted and signed by Grandma Bella herself
Proprietor Paula Coelho mixed all of the above to create an atmosphere “that feels like a relaxed Sunday visit to Grandma’s house. The yummy food they each made, the welcoming feeling, the lingering over a meal with family creating memories…”
She says that they never rush anyone, and allow all of their customers as much time to linger in an environment conducive to relaxing and feeling like they are a world’s away from the norm.Indeed, two regular patrons I interviewed agreed. Nancy has been a loyal customer since the café opened and added, “I come here for the ambiance and the great food. It feels like I’m totally somewhere different besides the Valley.”
With the help of a wonderful and hard-working family, this is truly a much-welcomed establishment so different from standard chain restaurants.
Neal, Paula’s husband, in addition to his regular full-time job, assists with holiday baking needs (such as peeling apples for one Thanksgiving’s 244 pies!). The Saturday-night specials for the fall include Neal’s specialty barbecue. He used to be a farmer, so loves to tend to the grounds and gardens.
Daughter Paige is the main pastry chef, who learned Grandma Rose’s and Grandma Bella’s cream and fruit pies. She attends Fresno State full-time, and is studying food science. She is looking to sometime in the future incorporate gluten-free items to the menu.
Other siblings who help run the café are son Parker, also attending Fresno State this fall, and daughter Paiton, who will be away at Cal-Poly. Other co-workers are friends and students home for the summer, needing a temporary job, who are lucky to find someone who knows it’s hard to get jobs for just the short two months they are out of school and back home.
Sister-in-law Marsha rounds out the family-run operation as a friendly hostess and server who warmly welcomes everyone with her charming personality and quick service.Now that Paula’s children will all be full-time college students, she is thinking of perhaps expanding the cafe’s hours to include Thursday and Friday dinner hours beginning this fall.
For now, she keeps busy:
• handling the lunch hour (Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
• continuing to cater and host boxed lunch affairs
• coordinates bridal and baby showers, dress rehearsal dinners, and retirement parties
• Takes wedding cake & cupcake orders (they once baked over 400 cupcakes for an event!)
• Hosts the Saturday night special dinners twice a month
• Somehow finds the time to create special fun nights, pre-selling tickets that sell out in advance to events such as Polynesian night (complete with tiki torches and an authentic troupe of dancers) as well as a Dean Martin night when she literally rolls out the red carpet and has a Dean Martin impersonator crooning songs for hours to her diners!
Note: It’s a good idea to like her FB page to get advance notification of these popular events.
The Bella Rose Bakery and Cafe, open since December 1, 2011, won an award in 2014 for first place in desserts at Taste of the Town, and an award this year presented by the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce for Best Business of the Year. When I brought my parents for lunch (along with the opportunity to interview Paula Coelho), we all fell in love with the cottage, the atmosphere, and the top-notch food and service. Even on a hot day, the patio was cool and inviting, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. When you go, don’t skip dessert! It’s worth the calories!
ADDRESS: 1537 Lincoln Street, Kingsburg
FB pg.: https://www.facebook.com/bellarosebakery
HOURS: M-F (11-2)
OFFERINGS: Indoor/outdoor dining, wine, beer, entrée salads, hot/cold sandwiches, daily specials, desserts.
CUSTOMER FAVORITES: Summertime strawberry salad, BLT, egg salad on rainbow bread (one customer told Paula, “Don’t ever go and change that recipe, I love it!”).
HOSTS: Catered events, all parties, wedding rehearsal dinners, showers, retirement parties.
BAKES: Wedding cakes to order/cupcakes/pies/cookies.
SPECIAL-EVENT DINNERS: Valentine’s Day, Polynesian, and Dean Martin nights.
SATURDAY-NIGHT DINNERS: Second and fourth Saturdays of the month in the fall, featuring nine-ounce filets and Chilean sea bass barbecued over coastal red oak.
COMING SOON: Thursday and Friday-night dinners.
NOTABLES: Outdoor parties seat 50-80 people; if your heart is set on dessert, get there by 12:30 before goodies are sold out! Also, lots of customers have started picking out their dessert before lunch so that it’s set aside for them, to assure it is part of their lunch order.