A Neosho restaurant has made some changes to its menu and hours.
Café Angelica, 107 E. Main St., has added a couple of dinner services.
"When I first moved back here in 1994, I had done the 14-, 16-, 18-hour restaurant days, and it was like, 'I don't want to do that anymore'," said Randy Collins, owner of Café Angelica. "Basically, I want to do lunch Monday through Friday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and do some catering. For most of these years that I have been here, I always said the restaurant carried itself and the catering was my living. As I get older, the hauling, the carrying and the lifting just kills me, so I am trying to pare down some of the outside catering. (I) still do inside catering, but I am trying to pare down off(site) catering, and that is why we decided to start opening for more dinners."
For the last few years, Collins has had a Thursday night dinner and suspended dinners afterward until the New Year because of the catering schedules.
"But when we reopened this last January, (I said) 'let's try a couple more nights, so we are currently doing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday dinner services from 5-7:30 p.m. on those days," he said. "The menu that we are running now is actually the third menu. We started with these dinner days, we did a French bistro menu, something that I dearly liked and some of my customers liked. It was basically French home cooking. Then I decided to change from that and went to a grill and barbecue: we did steak, grilled chicken and then smoked brisket and pulled pork."
But the third menu has things ranging from flatiron steak to boneless pork chops to boneless chicken breasts to seared salmon filet to fried tilapia filets and even pasta with garlic confit.
"This is one that I wanted to do for a number of years," he said. "For instance you can have that chicken six, seven, or eight different ways."
After the customers order the entrée, they can choose from different sauces such as grilled puttanesca or lime-cilantro butter or sauce béarnaise or garlic-bleu vinaigrette or pineapple-cucumber salsa or Asian sesame sweet and spicy. The dinners also include soup or salad, garlic toast and choice of baked potato, truffled fries or daily vegetable.
Asked about how he picked the sauces for this menu, Collins noted his like of certain foods.
"I like international foods, that is what I was kind of I was gearing toward," said Collins. "Like the béarnaise is a French flair, the pineapple-cucumber salsa is kind of Mexican Caribbean kind of flavor, so I have pulled in different international flavors."
Page 2 of 2 - Collins said he has been asked on "what kind of restaurant is Café Angelica's," he said, "I usually say, 'we are a world bistro.' I could wake up in the morning and say, 'lets do a Chicago beef dog today and tomorrow lets do chicken marsala. So I am just all over the place and I love that, I like diversity. I don't like being labeled, 'are you an Italian restaurant?' No, I do French, German, Mexican and Southwest."
Collins said he enjoys cooking and has for a long time, ever since he was a child. He didn't go to culinary school, but learned by doing.
"It is hands on, I taught myself," he said. "I have a natural affinity to food. I sit down and read cookbooks like most people sit down and read a novel. When I read a recipe, I know how it is going to taste, I know temperatures, I know textures, I can taste them in my mouth as I read it. It has just been a natural admiration of food and the stuff that is out there. Stuff that I didn't grow up with, that I was excited about that I wanted to learn to play with."