Auction house food stand transforms into Country Cafe
There are no formal titles for the Nungesser family members who have established a new place to get breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the east side of Belleville.
But they all work together to keep the Country Café by Roy-el running.
The restaurant recently began offering a full menu Thursday to Sunday at the St. Clair County Event Center, which Adam Jokisch of Adam's Auction & Real Estate Services Inc. opened last year at 1550 E. State Route 15.
Prior to expanding service to four days a week, the Country Café by Roy-el had just operated four or five times a month with a limited menu during auctions, flea markets or other events.
The “by Roy-el” part of the name comes from Belleville-based Roy-el Catering, which was founded in 1986 by Quentin and Sherry Nungesser.
Now their son, Marty Nungesser, and his wife, Jennifer Nungesser, manage Country Café by Roy-el.
“When we started 32 years ago, our philosophy and our goal was that we were going to provide a service with quality food and we weren’t going to skimp on anything,” Quentin Nungesser said.
And his daughter, Brea Bidwell, notes those "same standards that we’ve grown up with in the family" are followed today in the catering business, the new restaurant and at Roy-el on the Fly, the café the family started three years ago at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
Fun in the country
Jennifer Nungesser said as the menu and décor for the Country Café were being developed, they tried to “have a little fun.”
The front end of a 1947 Chevrolet pickup truck was salvaged from a junk yard and attached to the wall behind the bar.
“I’ve had several gentlemen come in and they’re like, ‘Hi, I had a ’47 Chevy truck.’ I really enjoy that,” she said.
A drawing of the truck is incorporated into the restaurant’s logo and it’s the inspiration for one of the specialty drinks, the ’47 Chevy, which features Jack Daniel’s whiskey, ginger ale and a splash of cola.
Popular items so far include the Belleville burger, which features a ½ pound of hand-patted, fresh hamburger, bacon and cheddar cheese. Other favorites include shrimp tacos, fried cod, beef brisket and BBQ pulled pork nachos.
On the weekends, you can order a bloody mary from the bar and then go to the bloody mary buffet table and spice up the drink the way you want.
A brunch buffet is offered 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s hard to find a place right after church to get in and to eat,” Quentin Nungesser said as one of the reasons they wanted to offer a brunch.
The restaurant is open at 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The café is available for private parties catered by Roy-el on Saturday and Sunday nights. Jennifer Nungesser calls the 75-seat space a “perfect little spot” for graduation and birthday parties or a baby shower.
The hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. You can get more information on the restaurant’s Facebook page.