Christmas has held a particular fascination for Christmas Morning Café owner Craig Bishop since he was a small boy. He grew up in a two-story farmhouse where he would sneak downstairs and hide behind the sofa on Christmas Eve, hoping to catch Santa Claus in the act of delivering toys. Once Craig had a home of his own, he would add more and more Christmas decorations each year until eventually, he found himself having to start the process as early as August.
Craig Bishop spent 20 years in the corporate restaurant industry, all the while entertaining the idea of opening a Christmas gift shop. He opened a coffee shop in western North Carolina before moving to Louisville to open The Coffee Zone in Westport Village. His wife Diana now runs The Coffee Zone as Craig devotes most of his time to Christmas Morning Café on Frankfort Avenue in the Crescent Hill neighborhood. Christmas Morning Café got its start as a Christmas gift shop and tearoom, but the tearoom soon took over and grew into today’s breakfast-brunch-lunch restaurant.
There are still plenty of decorations inside and out, along with a tableside Christmas carol or Sinatra tune courtesy of Craig himself. “I treat them like I’ve known them my whole life.” But he couldn’t do it all without his team. “We have a great staff,” says Craig, “They are warm and friendly and make people feel welcome as part of the family.” Manager Zach Taylor and Assistant Manager Zoe Willis lead the exceptional service in the front of the house. Chef Wesley Powell and his wife Pastry Chef Kendall Rhema, along with Chef’s Apprentice Kaleb Lewis, run the scratch kitchen with a “fine dining approach served in a casual way” using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Unsurprisingly, the names of the menu items continue in the Christmas theme. Craig shared some of their most popular dishes with us. Honoring Father Christmas as he is known in France, Père Noël French Toast is made with brioche bread and served with vanilla whipped cream, a caramel espresso drizzle, and fresh fruit. Rudolph’s Fresh Berry Crêpes are loaded with fresh berries and topped with whipped cream and a mocha espresso drizzle.
On the savory side, I’m Dreaming of a Waffle Panini Sandwich is an espresso mocha waffle stuffed with spinach, Gruyère, pork belly, and avocado, served with a side of cucumber salad. Grandma Klaus Biscuits & Gravy start with two freshly baked scratch biscuits smothered with House Made Gravy and a choice of bacon or sausage. The sausage meat is sourced from three blocks away at Red Hog Artisan Meat, Louisville’s first whole animal butcher shop. Christmas Morning Café grinds the meat in-house to make the sausage. Thick cut slices of applewood smoked bacon are candied with hints of espresso and mocha for Ebenezer Scrooge’s Billionaire Bacon.
Although the restaurant’s interior is a bit small for in-person dining at this time, spacious tents with heaters and speakers for Christmas music keep guests safe and comfortable. Christmas Morning Café will continue its robust curbside carry out business. Santa Claus makes a magical, socially-distanced appearance on Sunday, December 6. On Christmas Morning, Christmas Morning Café will once again serve food to the homeless while supplies last. For the latest in events, updates, pastries, and coffee drinks, follow Christmas Morning Café on Facebook and Instagram.