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Cahoots waitress Meagan Hoff takes an order from Margaret Laughmiller on Wednesday.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Cahoots waitress Meagan Hoff takes an order from Margaret Laughmiller on Wednesday.

Food, ghosts
in Cahoots

Hartselle restaurant
thrives with seasonal fun

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com ˇ 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If you have the Halloween spirit and you're looking for a good meal at a reasonable price, Cahoots Café is the place for you.

But as you enter for what the owner calls an "old-time country meal," don't be fooled by the costumes.

"It's the food first," said owner Rhonda Morris, who is celebrating her one-year anniversary in downtown Hartselle.

Secondly, she pointed out with pride, is the theme of the restaurant that changes with the season.

Order of 'spookgetti'

On a day when steak burrito and chicken and dumplings were on the menu, you could also order baked "spookgetti."

If smoked sausage and kraut or quiche with ham, bacon and cheddar didn't spook your appetite, Morris said, there was her famous Rueben sandwich.

As you enter the restaurant, Morris prefers that you follow the aroma of her homemade meals.

That's no problem, according to customers patronizing Cahoots. But it's hard to ignore ghosts swinging from ceiling fans and skeletons, spider webs and mummies mixed among the antique furnishings.

"It's all the have a little fun," said Morris, who on this day was dressed as a witch.

Cahoots is a dream come true for the Pittsburgh native, the second of four children born to Richard and Joan Hammell.

She opened an antique store in Eva about five years ago but kept thinking about opening a coffee shop in a vacant building across the street.

The coffee shop became a lunch counter, and she finally closed her antique business.

In September 2005, Morris packed up her antiques and kitchen utensils and moved her restaurant to Hartselle on Nance Ford Road.

It took less than a month for her to realize she needed a larger location. In October 2006, she moved downtown to a two-story building that allowed her to double her seating capacity.

Even with the increased capacity, there are days when customers wait for seating.

"This is the best move I've made," she said, about locating on Main Street.

As for the costumes and decorations, Morris said, they are part of the business.

While the employees are not required to wear a Halloween costume, they do.

"It's about having fun and doing stuff for our customers," Morris said.

On Oct. 31, the restaurant is having a Halloween party with entertainment. The best-dressed customer will receive free food.

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