Family brings Corner Cafe to Chelsea

Published 9:39 am Sunday, November 8, 2009

When Reginald Seay’s job played out a few months ago, he knew he had to find other work in order to take care of his family (he and wife LaTanya have nine-year-old twin girls) and keep his house.

LaTanya is a really good cook, he said, so they talked about trying to start a catering business. Then, when he saw that the little restaurant building at the intersection of County Roads 36 and 11 had closed, he checked with the owner about acquiring it.

Next, he talked to his retired father-in-law, Lee Gunn, about his idea. Since his father-in-law likes to smoke meat and the building has two large barbecue pits, they decided to open a barbecue café together. Seay’s wife and his mother-in-law, Doris Gunn, agreed to help with the cooking.

Now, all they needed was their own special barbecue sauce.

His father-in-law came to the rescue again. Gunn had a friend who had a sauce he liked, so he acquired a copy of the recipe, then “tweaked it” until he got just the taste he wanted.

“The business is really built around the sauce,” said Seay, who is manger of the new family business. “If not for my father-in-law and his knowledge, I couldn’t do this. I rely on him and his advice a lot. He’s the rock behind me.”

The café has been open for around six weeks now, with the motto “Serving you to serve again.”

The menu includes sliced or chopped pork barbecue sandwiches or plates, barbecue ribs (by the slab or the serving), chicken fingers and wings, fish, hotdogs and hamburgers.

There are also several side dishes. Seay said they welcome call-in orders and pickups, and offer catering service, party trays and large orders for events such as ball game parties.

Seay realizes it will take time to build up the business, he said.

The place has changed hands so much people might be reluctant to stop and try another new one. But he’s excited about the possibilities.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at