Hob Nob Farm Cafe: Full circle, new name
Ten years later, the Nelsons are back where they started with an expanded menu and a new name.
Mike and Nova Nelson opened Angelica's on King Street, a vegetarian restaurant, during spring break of 1997. During spring break 2007, they came back to the same location with an expanded menu and Tupelo's World Cafe. The name wasn't just right, though.
Nova Nelson said the restaurant was often confused with the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, and they wanted to tie the restaurant to their farm, which they had just named Hob Nob Farm, so Tupelo's became Hob Nob Farm Cafe.
Hob Nob is an old English expression that means an informal gathering, appropriate for the farm where they book parties, weddings and events with catering along the Watauga River just across the Tennessee border on U.S. 321.
Angelica's was known for vegetarian and vegan options. In 2003, the Nelsons sold the restaurant and opened Coyote Kitchen off Blowing Rock Road, a southwestern themed eatery.
Coyote Kitchen was sold in 2007 when the Nelsons moved on to open Moonshine Cafe at the old jailhouse location on Water Street in downtown Boone. The menu from Angelica's was expanded to include food from varying cultures, and meat was added to the fare.
Moonshine Cafe was named because the building had been the jailhouse for the county during Prohibition, and many of the prisoners at that time were moonshiners.
Then a dilemma presented itself to the Nelsons. Angelica's was going out of business, and they had the option of resuming the lease on their original location or maintaining Moonshine and letting Angelica's go.
The Nelsons decided to pack up their menu and go back to where they started. Since the name Moonshine was connected to the building, they had to choose something new. Tupelo's World Cafe was born based on the menu.
Nova Nelson said they didn't want to keep the name Angelica's, because the menu had changed dramatically from all vegetarian to a world effect.
Meanwhile, the Nelsons were developing their farm in Tennessee along the Watauga River. They use the 20 acres to grow apples, pears, berries, grapes, herbs and spices. The farm has a stage, a barn, gazebo and several ponds. It is available for parties, weddings and events, ranging from small to large. Just last month, they catered an event of 550 people.
The Nelsons plan to eventually begin packaging food to sell, items like the hot sauce served at Hob Nob Farm Cafe. So, the farm needed a name. Nova Nelson said the naming process took a while, with she and her husband tossing around several ideas.
Finally, Hob Nob Farm was settled in the winter. With the restaurant Tupelo's already in full swing, but having been confused with both the cafe in Asheville and Tupelo, Miss. (some came in expecting Cajun), the Nelsons decided to tie their two loves together with a single name.
The Hob Nob Farm Cafe became official in May, and the name change brought some more change from the Tupelo's menu. Nova Nelson said the restaurant is moving to local food as much as possible. Tupelo's had done the same, but whatever they could get would usually be the featured special.
New connections allow Hob Nob Cafe to have local foods year round on the regular menu. This marks the first year of year-round meat available and some produce in the winter, as well.
The beef comes from New River Organic Growers, a co-op of 30 farms that delivers once a week. Sausages are purchased from Grateful Growers out of the Charlotte area. Chicken is from Springer Mountain Farms of Virginia. The Pasta Wench of Boone provides the pastas, and desserts are also local, many from Stickboy Bread Company.
The Hob Nob Farm Cafe is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lunch and brunch are served until 5 p.m., with a dinner menu afterward. For more information, visit http://www.hobnobfarmcafe.com or call (828) 262-5000.
For more information on the farm visit http://www.thehobnobfarm.com.
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