A decade in Swisher for Kava House Cafe

'We opened fairly quietly'


SWISHER — Different patrons point to different items as being their favorite at Kava House Cafe in Swisher.

Karen Vondracek, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Craig, said different people have come to appreciate the restaurant for different reasons.

“We have a dinner special on Saturday nights and my husband does the prime rib. Every Friday night we have burgers,” she said.


“So we have groups of people where that is their thing. Some people swear by our reubens. But we have people that just come for our lunches. And we have a morning coffee group.”

One also has to consider the bakery items.

“We have a good, old-fashioned carrot cake and people just love it. They want something made from scratch. We make and bake everything right here.”


But don’t ask her to pick a favorite menu item: “I wouldn’t serve it if I didn’t like it.”

The Vondraceks purchased the historic building in 2007 and spent about a year fixing it up before opening a small coffee shop.

“We opened fairly quietly,” Vondracek recalled. “A lot of people in the area knew we were opening the restaurant. Gradually, we extended the hours, made our menus bigger and started offering more bakery items and pastries. We just went with the demand.


“At one point people were coming at night and were disappointed that we weren’t open. We felt like we needed consistent hours so we expanded them.”

The menu has grown over the years.

“We started with a few good recipes and we just went with the demand. And we try to get everything fresh and make it from scratch. So when you eat our pasta salad, you have to remember we didn’t just buy a carton of it somewhere. We boiled the pasta, cut the cheese and the meat and mixed it all together.”


Kava House has been a fixture in Swisher for the past 10 years, and Vondracek said they appreciate that customers travel to see them.

“Although this is not an easy business to be in, it is also very fulfilling and brings us a lot of joy,” she said. “I think Kava House has brought a light to this community.”

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At a glance

• Owners: Karen and Craig Vondracek

• Business: Kava House Cafe

• Address: 122 Second St. SE, Swisher

• Phone: (319) 857-5000

• Website: kavahousecafe.com