April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Business profile - Cornett's Corner Café

By By Jennifer [email protected]

When it comes to "good, southern-style comfort food," Cornett's Corner Café seems to be Hope's go-to for regulars and visitors alike. So what makes the café a unique fixture on the town's square? Owners, Ron and Mark Cornett recently talked about the business, the popular menu items that keep customers coming back for more, and what it's like working as a father-son team.

How did the idea for the café come about?

"I've been in the restaurant/bar business most of my life," Ron says. "I always wanted my own business."

What are your hours of operation?

Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What are some of your specialty items?

"We do down-home biscuits and gravy and breakfast casseroles," 61-year-old Ron says. "And lunch is hand-breaded hand-cut tenderloins and burgers. I'd say burgers are our most popular item. We go through a lot of burger here."

How much is "a lot"?

"We go through about 150 to 200 pounds of burger in a week," Ron says.

What would you say is your most unique menu item?

"The Swamp Combo - Mark named it," Ron says. "It is a frog legs and catfish combo and it comes with three side dishes. There's a variety of sides to choose from."

"We've been doing well making hush puppies," 38-year-old Mark adds. "I'm a sucker for a hushpuppy."

Ron, if the Café were to have its own catch-phrase, what would it be?

"It may be good and not be ours, but it can't be ours and not be good."

Working with family can sometimes be difficult, what's it like for the two of you?

"We do really well," Ron says. "Obviously we don't work 'together,' it is separate shifts. I come in at 4 a.m. and Mark comes in at 2 p.m. He's always been a night owl."

What are some challenges you have faced being co-owners?

"Nothing real big we couldn't make it over," Mark says. "Differences of opinion. I think that's what makes it a good business is we keep each other in check. Dad is close to retirement and I'm just revving up."

What do you enjoy most about the business?

"The people," Ron says. "And working for yourself, I can't even describe how that feels."

And what about you, Mark?

"Making memories," he says. "And when you can bring a smile to a kid's face."

What has the café brought to the Hope community? How has it made its mark?

"We provide a need for the community because there are just certain people who are here every day who really can't cook for themselves," Ron says. "We also donate to most of the local causes, including the schools and the Yellow Trail Museum."

How would you describe each other's approach to 'work'?

"Mark has an infectious personality," Ron says. "He really cares about the quality of the product and I couldn't be more proud."

And, Mark, how would you describe your dad's approach?

"I would say the same thing about him," he says. "We look alike and have similar personalities."

What are you plans for the café's future?

Ron says the café will continue down the path it's on; a sentiment with which Mark agrees.

"I enjoy coming to work every day," Mark says. "So long as I'm not trying to put that in jeopardy we can go on to do other things. I'd like to offer some kind of outside dining, down the road. Maybe some type of awning outside so it wouldn't matter what the weather is doing. Other than changing the colors of the place, I would like to expand it at some point."[[In-content Ad]]