Original Article: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/08/quintons_ems_cafe_offers_fresh_local_ingredients_i.html
Author: Kelly Roncace
They met at the Salem County 9-1-1 center, so after they got married and decided to open a cafe, what else would they call it but the EMS Cafe’?
Luke and Bethanne Patrick opened the EMS Cafe on Quinton-Marlboro Road in Quinton in January after Luke owned a concessions truck for four years prior.
“I was on Craig’s List looking for a water heater, and I saw a 6-by-12 food trailer on there,” Patrick said. “I thought, ‘That would be fun.'”
And so the spontaneous food trailer purchase turned into Pattyscakes Concessions and began traveling the area providing fun fried foods like blooming onions, funnel cakes, and other favorite festival foods.
“This is a completely different animal,” Patrick said of the EMS Cafe. “We have a full menu here.”
EMS — which actually stands for Early Morning Start — Cafe is a casual, counter service establishment with low prices and a cozy atmosphere.
“We try to keep the prices as reasonable as we can, but we have all top shelf ingredients and use local produce and Jersey potatoes for the French fries,” he said. “And all our meats are from across the street at Niblock’s.”
When developing a menu, Patrick and Beth started with breakfast foods and sandwiches and added their own twist.
“We have a cheesesteak with egg on it on a sub roll for breakfast,” he said. “And we have an oyster Po’Boy — fried oysters on a long roll with lettuce, tomatoes and our blooming onion sauce.”
The burgers are a third pound of freshly ground meat and come in six versions including the Pattyscakes Burger with onion rings, fried pickles and bloomin onion sauce.
“All the favorites from the food truck,” Patrick said.
Cook Larry Vanneman of Quinton has been working at EMS Cafe for about five months.
He was previously a cook at Richmond’s, but said he learned most of what he knows from his mother.
“It just comes naturally to me,” he said of cooking. “My mom cooked all my life and I learned from her.”
On Fridays and Saturdays, the EMS smoker comes alive smoking ribs, chicken, and pork.
On Sundays, the $8.99 breakfast buffet has become a popular stop for many visitors.
But, even though the cafe has been open since January, Patrick said he still has customers coming in saying they didn’t know the place was even there.
“It’s fun, but it’s also stressful,” Patrick said. “I would have never anticipated the fluctuation of customers, but it’s starting to pick up. We turned this place around and put some TLC into it, and everyone loves our food.”
Tuesday nights are “Non-profit” nights where non-profit organizations can receive 10 percent of everything sold between 3 and 8 p.m. Interested groups can apply on the website.
Wednesday is Wing Night with naked wings cooked to order with hot, mild, or barbecue sauce.
Thursday is Seafood Night with a variety of seafood offerings such as fried shrimp, clam strips, steamed shrimp or crab soup.
Patrick enjoys bringing this kind of establishment to Quinton and Salem County, and hopes to someday be an institution like other well-known local restaurants.
“I’m going to try to be here as long as I can, so we need people to come out and support us to keep us running,” he said.
EMS Cafe is located at 97 Quinton-Marlboro Road in Quinton.