Café 402: A fresh start

WRITTEN BY JOE STUMPE

Like a personal trainer, Jason Fisher has whipped Café 402 into shape.

That's an appropriate analogy, as the deli-style restaurant is located on the ground floor of the YMCA's bustling downtown branch.

Gone are the oversized prices. In are longer operating hours, so that people can get a bite after early-morning and evening workouts.

Fisher is trying to make sure everyone knows that Café 402 is open and accessible to the general public, not just Y members. And also that the restaurant, while specializing in healthy food, isn't limited to just that. Bite into a slice of its decadent chocolate cake for proof.

"If I'm here working out five days a week, I'll have that piece of cake," Fisher says, putting himself in the thought process of a Y regular.

As a matter of fact, asking patrons what they want out of Café 402 is one of the first things Fisher did after taking over the spot in December. The other was to reach out to members of the city's business community, making sure they knew that Café 402 has a reasonably- priced catering operation and a meeting room that's available along with it.

"I think it's Wichita's best-kept secret," he said.

Well, not exactly secret. The downtown Y pulls in thousands of visitors a day. Most have probably at least glanced at Café 402 and wondered what it serves. Maybe in the past they experienced a little sticker shock looking at the menu, but Fisher has adjusted prices since taking over and also added a little creativity.

For $5.95, for instance, you can choose from a trio of tasty sandwiches: a smoked turkey on ciabatta bun with basil aioli, pepper jack cheese and fresh avocado; a grilled caprese with mozzarella, tomato and spinach on focaccia; and Robb's Famous No. 8 featuring turkey, Swiss, bacon and cream cheese on an onion hoagie. There are freshly made sides and salads, breakfast items, yogurt, smoothies, coffee, sports drinks, fruits and other snacks, and a gooey protein cookie that we can only hope is as healthy as it is delicious. For not too much money, parents who stop in in the Y to exercise after work can grab dinner for the family on the way out the door.

Fisher brings years of experience to Café 402, having worked in management for Latour Management and Schlotzsky’s.

A bundle of energy himself, he enjoys serving people who are on the move in more ways than one.

"Everything I've accomplished in life, it's required a lot of effort and a lot work," he said. "And every lesson I've learned has been around a big dinner table."

CAFÉ 402 | 402 N. Market St. (inside Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA) 316.219.9622 ext. 5517 | facebook.com/cafe402

 
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