Business Spotlight: The Grateful Table
Friday, October 12, 2018
October has been designated as National Women’s Small Business Month. It’s an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the impact female entrepreneurs have on our economy. Today, women own 39 percent of small businesses in the U.S.
One example of a successful woman-owned business in Roseville is The Grateful Table. Mary Robideaux and her daughter Christine opened the popular bakery/restaurant in 2015.
The Grateful Table has become a Roseville favorite. It recently won a Nextdoor social network poll for "Best Bakery" in Ramsey County. Mary notes that the award is especially gratifying because it was a people’s choice award, with 4,000 people voting for the business.
Mary’s passion for food started when she worked for a caterer while in college. After marrying her husband, she returned to school and became trained in French pastry-making. This experience was put to good use at her husband’s company, Premier Food Products Inc. (an importer of specialty ingredients for chefs, chocolatiers and caterers) where she served as pastry chef and also provided sales and training expertise to the food industry.
When the business moved into a facility with a kitchen, Mary thought it seemed like a natural evolution to open a bakery. Daughter Christine, who had front of house management experience, joined her in the endeavor.
As the business progressed, the pair ended up in roles that contradicted their initial expectations. Mary is now serving as front of house manager while Christine became the chef. “She took to cooking and baking like a duck to water. It was amazing,” says Mary, adding that Christine scrapped her plans to go to med school because she fell in love with the role.
The fast casual restaurant and bakery employs seven people. It’s known for its French pastries, including five varieties of fresh baked croissants. It also creates special order wedding and other celebratory cakes and has expanded into catering as well.
On the more savory side, the Grateful Table serves several different types of quiche as well as sandwiches with house made bread and Boar’s Head meats. Popular offerings include the Reuben, Cubano and Chicken Philly..
The Grateful Table distinguishes itself with its use of clean, natural ingredients. “We break all our own eggs. Everything is from scratch,” says Mary. She notes that the restaurant strives for zero waste. All the plates are either recycled or recyclable, the corn-based plates break down within 30 days.
When asked what customers like about the business, Mary notes that besides the tasty food offerings, she’s proud of the comfortable atmosphere they’ve cultivated. “Women keep telling us they feel safe here. Men like the causal nature of the restaurant. The atmosphere is friendly, calm and relaxing,” she says.
Landing in a Roseville location was “an oops,” according to Mary. She was driving around looking for a new location for Premier Food Products in St. Paul, and she got lost. “I ended up in a parking lot trying to figure out where the heck I was,” she explains.
She noticed the “for rent” sign on the building, which was almost empty. It turned out to be the ideal space for both her husband’s business and her own. The building now houses a bakery, market and cafe. “It’s a very unusual spot for restaurant and bakery — but it works. It’s a little gem in the neighborhood,” she says.
Though Mary hadn’t previously considered Roseville as a location, she’s thankful for the serendipity that brought her here. “I absolutely love Roseville residents. I can’t say enough about our kind and generous customers. They like the fact that we are independently owned and not a typical chain restaurant,” says Mary.