Business

Farmhouse catering to community's sweet side

"The population of catering businesses in Port Orchard is a small one, but has increased over the last year with the addition of Farmhouse Parlour and Catering, which opened on Jan. 2.Owned by Stephen and Ru Kelso, the business offers several facets of cuisine with a spotlight on the aspect of catering.A lot of people don't even realize we're even here. It really amazes me,said Stephen Kelso. It's Port Orchard's best kept secret.Kelso has been in the food business for 33 years and specifically in catering for nearly five.We were already doing it out of my house, said Kelso of the expansion into Farmhouse. We do weddings, parties, anniversaries-everything.Specialized menus, all created by Kelso, are available for customers to choose from for their event. There's not anything I haven't tried in 33 years, and I don't think there's anything I won't try, said Kelso. I am an artist. Some people use other things, and I use food.At Farmhouse Parlour and Catering, folks can not only make catering plans with Kelso, but may also enjoy the full service ice cream parlour (with items like sundaes and shakes) or take advantage of the daily fresh panini (sandwiches layered with items like ham, turkey, tomatoes and mushrooms).I don't think I've ever used a recipe in my life, said Kelso. I just know what goes good together.Noting a staff of about 15 people, Stephen Kelso makes the most of the 1700 sq. ft. building (about 750 ft. of which is devoted to the ice cream parlour) that can accommodate up to 85 people in the reception hall.Most of my functions are 200-300 people, said Kelso, mentioning his desire for more places in the area that will hold bigger groups. As a member of the South Kitsap Business Networking group, Kelso supports the idea heading to the November ballots of a 500-person convention area to be built at Jackson Park in Port Orchard. We're hoping this thing works out, he said. What we'd be getting is extremely worthwhile. The location on Bethel Avenue next to the Victorian Rose Tea Room has had positive effects on business, according to Kelso.It's been very, very good for us, said Kelso, I've done very little advertising. (And) we've increased in business in 500 percent since opening.Farmhouse recently hosted the South Kitsap School Board candidate forum and has quite a few area clubs that meet there on a regular basis.Future plans for the business will come in September with the addition of a daily breakfast buffet from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.It's kind of slow in the morning, said Stephen Kelso. I'm looking to expand.Buffet items include scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, croissants, baked goods, coffee, tea and juice-all for $5.An area resident but born and raised in Idaho, Kelso sees a bright future for Farmhouse Parlour and Catering and is pleased with the response from the people of Port Orchard.We love it, he said. It's a very nice community. "

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