Owner’s dream comes true

Caldwell Hartley’s dream, while working for several years in restaurants and as a food rep for a large grocery company, was to own and operate a restaurant of his own.

He even sat down once and wrote a business plan for one, said his wife Amy.

His dream has finally come true in the form of Hartley’s Down-Home Kitchen at Chelsea.

He was working in commercial real estate until the recent decline in the economy, Amy said, and realized he needed to find a new line of work.

The opportunity to acquire a restaurant building at Chelsea, where they had enjoyed living for five years, re-awoke Caldwell’s dream.

So they prayed about it, Amy said, and decided to go for it.

Hartley’s Down-Home Kitchen opened on Oct. 12 of last year. It has an inside seating capacity of around 90, and an outside patio that seats 24.

On recent visits with family members and friends, we found the inside buzzing with patrons at both lunch and dinner-time and people waiting to get in before the doors opened for serving.

“We are at capacity all during the week,” Amy Hartley said. But “Sunday is our busiest day … We feed a few hundred on Sundays.”

“Everything we sell at Hartley’s is made from scratch everyday,” she said.

Caldwell Hartley, assists their main cook Pat Threatt with cooking, and helps serve at the well-laden steam table. Amy’s sister, Katie Newton, is their “Dessert Diva.” Amy serves as hostess, among other things.

“Have you ever heard it takes a village to raise a child,” Amy Hartley asked. “Well, it also takes a village to run a restaurant successfully. There are many hands busy at work on any given day at Hartley’s helping to prepare the fresh, home-made meals. (Caldwell and Pat) work very hard to ensure the best quality of food everyday. They are the backbone of our success. We strive to bring you the best food and impeccable service.”

All of their workers, including the wait staff, “are an amazing group of friends who work hard to make Hartley’s a success,” she said.

Hartley’s Down-Home Kitchen is open Sunday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thursday and Friday evenings 5 p.m.-8p.m.

For private parties and take-out orders, they can be reached at 678-4990.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e-mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net