There were only two spaces in the building with street access, so he had to be selective.
Top This Donut Bar was the first to sign a lease in the fall of 2015, followed closely by Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices.
"Colonel De is the type of business that will draw people into Fort Thomas, and I think it will be a huge blessing to our community," Gorman told Fort Thomas Matters in September of that year. "For them to not only open a storefront, but to also locate their production and corporate headquarters here is really exciting."
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De Stewart and his wife Susan, residents of Fort Thomas, have seen enormous growth since first opening their headquarters in Fort Thomas. So much so that an opportunity to expand into the current Top This Donut Bar space was presented to them and they seized it.
"Colonel De approached me and told me that he was interested in opening a restaurant. I put him in touch with the owner of Top This, De made him an attractive offer, and they were quickly able to strike a deal. I think this is really exciting for Fort Thomas," said Gorman. "Colonel De is a unique treasure for us and we are so lucky to have him."
As a result of the need for expansion, Top This Donut Bar will be closed permanently in that location. They will still operate at their Xavier location in Cincinnati.
"Our chefs are extremely excited to stretch their wings," said Stewart, who noted that his six chefs have a total of 150 years of experience in the kitchen. "They are like little kids at Christmas right now."
Chefs Matt Buschle, Jeff Hyde and Doni Atterbery will be featured at their newest location.
"I want it to be the local place that you go to get good food and see someone you know in a family environment," said Stewart. "Everything that we fix, we'll be using our spices and blends."
Breakfast and lunch will be offered Monday through Friday, with a brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The space, which will be reconfigured and rebranded, will hold around 50 occupants. Patrons will walk up, order their food, sit down, and their food will be brought to their table. Food will also be available for carry-out. The space will also be available for rent during the evenings.
"It's going to be a restaurant by day and an event center by night," said Stewart.
Stewart said that the menu is going to have a core group of items that will be constants with some rotating specials that will have a local and seasonal flare.
Recently, Colonel De has been offering "lunch with the chefs," limited engagement lunches available for carry-out or to eat in their cafe. He said that they have been routinely selling out and have been profitable.
"This reinforced to us that our decision was going to be a good one," he said.
The idea for Colonel's Kitchen came suddenly but that hasn't deterred Mr. and Mrs. Colonel in the past, said Susan Stewart.
"We've done this together from the beginning. I asked him what his dream was and he said he wanted to open a store that sold herbs and spices," she said. "As soon as I heard that, I asked him what his second choice was.
"But six months after setting up that card table in 2006, we needed more space. I believe we've found another winning concept here."
Photo: Susan and De (The Colonel) Stewart. FTM file.