Melanie Brubaker Mazur/Pine River Times
Caring about food and music fills the lives of Tim and Kellie Lillyquist of Bayfield.
Tired of commuting to chef and restaurant jobs in Durango, they opened the Tuning Fork Cafe five years ago on Mill Street in downtown Bayfield.
“We wanted to work in our hometown,” Tim Lillyquist said of their 16 years of living in Bayfield. “We had our eye on the space available downtown, and we thought we could fill a niche here.”
That niche is gourmet coffee, espresso and food made to order, using local produce and goods whenever possible.
“If you bring in your locally grown wares, we’ll buy them,” he said of produce.
The cafe also sells local jewelry created by Mandy Houpt and works by artists such as Autumn Cameron and Kristi Taylor.
The couple invested as much as they could in high-end machines for Kelley to create her drinks. That includes a Blend-Tec, a state-of-the art blender to make frappés, as well as a Nuova Simmonelli Italian espresso machine.
The Tuning Fork serves breakfast and lunch six days a week and is closed on Sundays. They’re often asked to stay open for dinner, but both are avid musicians, so if they had to work during evenings, “there goes the music,” said Tim Lillyquist, who plays guitar for the Crags. His wife sings for Limousine Queen.
Amanda McNaughton has worked for the couple for two years.
She likes the relaxed atmosphere and free coffee, “but I really like that they care about the quality of the food,” she said. “And, I will work for coffee!”
As the home of Bayfield’s only gourmet espresso machine, there’s a bustling business early in the morning as locals stop in for espressos and cappuccinos, but many stay for the food.
Breakfast favorites include grilled polenta with eggs, bacon and sautéed spinach, or the breakfast tacos with chorizo.
Saturday’s special is buttermilk biscuits with gravy made with green chiles, topped with fried eggs.
“That’s very popular,” said Tim Lillyquist, who cooks all of the food.
For both breakfast and lunch, there’s a small standard menu, then a few specials every day.
One of his favorite lunch items is the loco moco, a burger served over steamed rice, topped with homemade brown gravy, two fried eggs, fried onions and green onions.
The turkey bagel, piled high with poultry, cheese and fresh veggies, also is a customer favorite. Homemade soups, such as tomato bisque and posole, and salads round out the lunch menu.
The Tuning Fork is located at 25 W. Mill St. and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To-go orders can be made by calling 884-6008.