When Todd Schulte closed his last restaurant, Genessee Royale Bistro, he thought he had his next steps all mapped out.
However, when things did not go according to plan, he took a prep cook position working in the kitchen at Pearl Tavern in Lee’s Summit when it first opened. He loved his 9-to-5 schedule and he loved the people there, but, ultimately, Schulte decided it was time to start focusing on what would come next.
That’s when he reached out to his old friend, chef Nate Feldmiller, who owns two locations of Café Europa in the Crestwood Shops and in Union Hill.
“I talked to Nate to see if he needed any help at Café Europa. I have always been a fan of his restaurant, and he and I go way back to when he owned Circe on 39th Street,” Schulte says. “We had always talked about one day doing something together, but Nate had a kitchen full of talent at both locations and had nothing for me to do.”
Schulte decided he wanted to return to doing private dinners and event catering, which he had built a loyal following for at Genessee Royale. In order to do that, though, he knew he would need to find a commercial kitchen. That’s when Feldmiller called his friend with a proposal.
Feldmiller explained that he had been struggling to keep his grab-and-go case stocked with seasonal items, so he asked Schulte if he would be interested in filling the case for Café Europa in Union Hill.
“On a daily basis, Café Europa Union Hill offers a gorgeous array of fresh, handmade, made in-house pastries, breads and desserts. Now, I get to pair these amazing baked goods with a rotating selection of my handmade salads, dips, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and soups,” Schulte says.
Soups have always been a passion for the chef, who started his culinary career delivering soup on his bicycle door to door. Many of the favorite soup recipes he made for his former soup company, Uncommon Stock, are now finding their way into the case at Café Europa at Union Hill. The flavors depend on Schulte’s mood and what ingredients he has to work with in Feldmiller’s scratch kitchen.
In the case at Café Europa at Union Hill, you may find chicken noodle soup, a classic tomato or mushroom cream soup, in addition to some traditional mayonnaise-based salads like chicken, egg and shrimp. Schulte is also adding entrees with an Asian twist, including shaking beef and chicken fried rice, along with comforting Italian meatballs in red sauce, all ready to heat and eat.
“In addition to filling his grab-and-go case at Café Europa, Nate has been generous and allowed me to use his kitchen as my commissary kitchen to grow my own catering business, doing private dinners and special events, which I really appreciate,” says Schulte.
Schulte says he is still figuring out what the future holds for him and his career, but for right now, it feels good to be focused on feeding the Café Europa case – as well as his loyal catering customers.
Café Europa Union Hill, 2976 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.214.5425, cafeeuropakc.com