Iverson, Waters team up for Cafe Brule

Monica Iverson and Jim Waters both had the same dream and aspiration — to run their own restaurant in Vermillion.However, even though both of them worked in the same building, neither one knew of the other's dream. After they both stumbled upon the same building which would be perfect for a restaurant, they found out they wanted the same thing.Now in about mid-January, they will open Cafe Brule, a new French-American style eatery that will be located in the old Coffee Shop Gallery building in downtown Vermillion."We had our eye on the building privately, and we hadn't said anything to each other," Iverson said. "He went after the business first, and I found out about it and offered to be a co-partner, and it went from there."The two have been working in the same building for a number of years. Jim Waters has been the manager of Mr. Smith's for the last eight years, and Iverson runs Cakes by Monica, which is run out of Jones' Food Center.Both of them wanted to jump into a new endeavor. For Waters, running his own restaurant is just part of the family business. His parents own and run their own restaurant in Missouri."I'm very excited, and it's something I have always wanted to do," Waters said. "I decided it was time to take the leap."Iverson's path was a bit different. She started her culinary experience in Paris, France when she lived underneath a pastry for a year. Iverson moved back to the states and has won a few awards for cake designs.Now that Iverson's business has enough assistants to sustain itself, she felt it was time to follow her heart."I am super excited to be opening my own store; it's always been a dream of mine," she said. "I have always wanted to be on my own, and so has Jim."The two business owners purchased the Coffee Shop Gallery, which has sat vacant for the last year, and are working on renovating it to accommodate their restaurant.Cafe Brule will still have gourmet coffee like its predecessor, but the kitchen is being remodeled in order to offer a full French-American type menu."We are totally renovating the kitchen because we needed to expand the equipment to handle our menu," Waters said. "We are going to be a full-service type restaurant."Cafe Brule will be open for breakfast and lunch, and Iverson said they are leaning toward keeping the business open until about 7 or 8 p.m."We are thinking we will be open at night, but we don't know for sure," she said. "We are considering it because the college crowd has been talking about having a place that has wi-fi and snacks at night while they are studying."The two haven't decided on the specific menu yet, but they have an idea of what items will be offered. Iverson said she is going to play off the restaurant's name."Brule means torched, so we will have torched cinnamon coffee, potatoes brule and stuff like that," she said. "We are looking at bagette style sandwiches, flatbread and different soups and salads.""We want to be able to do really nice meals, but not super expensive meals," she added.The restaurant will also offer beer and wine.Of course, with Iverson at Cafe Brule, she will be making specialty pastries and cakes.Even though Iverson is going to open a new business with Waters, she will still be operating half of Cakes by Monica at Jones' Food Center. But Iverson will be making the wedding cakes and pastries at Cafe Brule, while Jones Food Center will offer birthday cakes.Iverson said it means her original cake business will be branching out, but she wouldn't be able to do it without the help she has at the Jones' Food Center location."I do have talented cake decorators that I trust and trained," she said. "It's possible to bake the cakes and ingredients, but when it comes to decorating, it's an art, and that takes years of experience. I have assistants who are talented at cake decorating. It's wonderful how we play off on our talents, and I feel we can continue our quality of products with the help I have right now."Allison Hoyne, Erin Martin, and Becca Gehm are Iverson's assistants and Ian Smith is her baker.Unlike Iverson, Waters won't be staying with Mr. Smith's, and he leaves the popular Vermillion deli with a heavy heart."It's very hard to walk away; that was my baby," he said. "I have worked hard to build that business for the past eight years and it's my baby and my family."Now I look forward to doing more cooking than managing, and I look forward to being able to create food again," he said.Iverson and Waters are hoping to have the building renovated by mid-January.

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