Walking through the massive front doors of Maple Counter Café, one is enveloped by an atmosphere of warm, farmhouse style comfort. This welcoming atmosphere is created by the hard work of Kory and Rachel Nagler, the proprietors.
“My family is a restaurant family. I was literally raised in a restaurant a lot like this,” said Kory. His grandparents owned a restaurant in Chicago and his parents own a similar restaurant in Sequim, Wash. Life in a restaurant family provided both the inspiration to open Maple Counter and the experience necessary.
After deciding to open a restaurant, Kory and Rachel came to Walla Walla on a road trip.
“We knew we wanted to open a restaurant for a long time,” said Rachel. “We were looking for the right community and we just fell in love with it––10, 15 miles out of town we already knew that we loved it.”
Sunday mornings are busy at Maple Counter––my friends and I waited about 15 minutes for a table. However, the crowds are a sign that the restaurant, which opened in November, is doing well.
“On paper, restaurants are a bad bet . . . most restaurants close down in the first one to three years,” said Kory. But since November, the Naglers have met all of their projections and have been doing slightly better than they originally predicted on paper.
“We didn’t want outside influences to shape our path, our dreams,” said Kory.
And these dreams have shaped into a great addition to Walla Walla’s dining scene. Kory and Rachel focus most of their efforts on two aspects of their restaurant: the experience and the food. According to Kory, what makes them unique is their concern with the experience.
“Hospitality is more important than food in some ways,” said Kory.
Maple Counter boasts a traditional breakfast menu. Many of the recipes come from Kory’s grandparents’ restaurant in Chicago. One can find breakfast standards ranging from bacon and eggs to omelets, pancakes, French toast and more. Dining there with friends, one has the opportunity to sample quite a few dishes. I had the “traditional”: eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. My friends tried the Mexican omelet, buttermilk pancakes, French toast and the Country Style Eggs Benedict.
“This gravy is out of control,” said senior Kelsie Baher. Everyone else had equally excited positive reports on their food.
On the weekend the restaurant is quite crowded, and despite our waiter’s assurance that our food would only be 10 minutes, we waited quite a bit longer. However, everything from the service to the food was amazing. I would definitely recommend breakfast at Maple Counter. And if you need any help choosing one of the many delicious options, Rachel and Kory are happy to offer their advice.
“The thing that I want to order every day is the smoked salmon scramble, the â€˜high tide scramble’ which has really delicate flavors,” said Rachel. The scramble is named for her parents’ business, High Tide Seafood.
As for Kory, he said he has lots of favorites, but would recommend the strawberry granola pancakes and definitely a side of bacon!