KINGFIELD – After twenty years as a downtown staple, the Kingfield branch of the Orange Cat Café will be closing in April 2023.
Owner Morgan Dunham announced the upcoming closure on the café’s page on Facebook, which generated a flood of comments expressing both sadness over the closure and best wishes for Dunham and her staff moving forward.
Dunham cited challenges with the building, staffing, and rising costs as factors in her decision to close.
The Brick Castle, where the café has called home, was built in 1823. The building was originally a home, and Dunham has faced challenges trying to convert it into a restaurant. Since 2020, the Kingfield branch has operated as a drive-thru rather than a full seating café. While the drive-thru model has worked well, Dunham has been feeling a lot of pressure to move back to a full café, something that isn’t practical at this time for a number of reasons including additional staffing requirements.
In addition, the rent on the Brick Castle is expected to nearly double. This, combined with rising costs of food and supplies for the restaurant, have contributed to the decision. Dunham said she didn’t want to increase food prices again.
In August 2020, Dunham opened a branch in Farmington. The café on Broadway, in the former soup for you! space, has been successful since the beginning. Dunham has found that the Farmington café is easier and more consistent to manage, and will be focusing her efforts down south.
She reported that three staff members from Kingfield are planning to go down to the Farmington branch. She offered all employees the opportunity, and for some it wasn’t a good fit.
“It’s honestly a relief,” Dunham said with regards to the decision to close. She started the business in her early twenties and while she learned and grew with the Orange Cat, she is looking forward to the change, and to having more time for friends and family. In addition, she acknowledged new shops in the area, including the Refresh Smoothie Bar and the Sweet Clover Bakery, which offer other options for the community.
The Orange Cat Café opened in 2003 as a flower shop and small café. Originally, Dunham and her sister offered coffee and bagels, and occasionally homemade muffins. Today, the menu includes a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options, along with an extensive offering of drinks and pastries, and a rotating list of specials. The Orange Cat menu, which is similar in both locations, focuses on bright, fresh flavors with exciting and colorful combinations.
A final closing date has not been announced, but the expected time is the end of April 2023.
The Farmington branch will remain open and may even see expanded hours as a result of the transition.