ONJon Rolph, drawn to the spirit and community of the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City, immediately knew it was the perfect place to expand his Wichita-based daytime restaurant, he said.
“We wanted a place where we could feel at home,” said Rolph, the owner and founder HomeGrown with his wife Lauren. “When we came across Brookside, it just felt right. There is a lot about personality and there is a really strong presence in the community.
“After we officially announced the opening of the restaurant, we delivered some homemade pop cakes to the stores and got to know our new neighbors,” added Rolph. “The reception and our conversations with the other store owners confirm again that Brookside is the right place for HomeGrown.”
This spot – 338 W. 63rd St., formerly Avenues Bistro – will make its debut in July.
Homegrown, which first opened in May 2017 and now has three locations in Wichita, is known for its locally sourced ingredients (as well as delicious, homemade pop cakes), Rolph said.
“It is important to us that we offer fresh meals that have been prepared from scratch at a very reasonable price,” he said. “… Breakfast is very habitual for people. We want people to come in and feel like they are treating their bodies right. “
click Here to learn more about HomeGrown.
The partnership with local farmers and manufacturers not only benefits HomeGrown, but also contributes to the success of the entire community, explained Rolph.
“We wanted to make sure we could work to keep the local dollars in the community,” he said. “So our espresso beans come from a local coffee roaster in Wichita. Our bacon and sausage come from a butcher outside of Wichita – and he got people to go to his shop and ask about the bacon they get at HomeGrown. We want to help build that exposure. “
Rolph and his team plan to forge the same connections with local Kansas City businesses, he said, noting that partnerships don’t necessarily have to be food related. From the tables and the art decor in the restaurant to tea or honey for a specialty drink, Rolph sees the possibility of a local partnership.
“I encourage people to get in touch with us through our Facebook page if they have a product to sell,” said Rolph.
click Here to get in touch with the HomeGrown team.
More than just a place to eat
Rolph grew up as a restaurant child. His father and uncle opened the first Carlos O’Kelly-inspired Mex in Wichita 40 years ago – part of entrepreneurship in his DNA, he said.
The Thrive Restaurant Group operates the Homegrown, Carlos O’Kelly and Applebee locations. Jon Rolph is also the owner and founder of Thrive.
When it came time to build his own brand, Rolph and his wife both knew they wanted to send a message bigger than HomeGrown, Rolph continued.
They landed on: Cultivate Kindness.
“That’s us,” said Rolph. “We really tried to build a brand around this idea: we serve a great breakfast, but we also invite people to this idea to be kind.”
In order to win children over to their mission, Rolph and his team implemented a kindness mailbox, which he shared. Half of the HomeGrown kids’ menu is a postcard that kids can draw on and write an address on. You drop it off in the Kindness mailbox, and then the restaurant team sends it out for shipping.
“Children can tell their grandparents that they love them or send a message to a teacher they appreciate,” said Rolph. “This is really exciting because it feels like our message has come alive and full of new discoveries for us. I can’t wait to see how this evolves over the next 10 to 15 years with the HomeGrown brand. “