The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 3, 2013

It's Karma: Long-time restaurant employee opens her own dining establishment

CLINTON — Donna Johnson grew up in a restaurant.

From working with relatives, to helping corporate chains, the 55-year-old Clinton resident knows her way around a dining establishment. It's this knowledge and passion for serving good food that inspired Donna and her husband Ron, 51, to open the Karma Kafe in downtown Clinton.

"I've worked in these restaurants all my life. My first job in a restaurant I sat on a big old tall stool and poured root beer out of a wooden keg. So that will tell you right there how long I've been in restaurants," Donna said. "That was the karma. I've worked for everybody and I've helped start restaurants. It was my turn."

The Karma Kafe, 132 Fifth Avenue South, offers homemade American breakfast, lunch and dinner at affordable prices.

The couple says they make everything as fresh as they can and plans to use the local farmers markets once it opens. Some homemade menu items include hand-dipped tenderloins and chicken fried steaks as well as freshly made noodles and real mashed potatoes. Ron also makes meatloaf and meatballs fresh and is the designated brisket and pulled pork smoker.

"We're trying to do as much homemade as humanly possible," Donna said. "We're trying to keep away from as much processed as we can."

Dessert and meal specials will be available daily. The couple will also offer an all-you-can-eat fish fry on Fridays and an all-you-can-eat fried chicken special on Saturday. The Karma Kafe is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

In addition to their three-page menu, the restaurant will have free wi-fi.

Being a part of downtown Clinton and its continued growth played a part in selecting their location on Fifth Avenue South, which is home to a number of Clinton mainstays as well as new businesses.

"This area seemed to have a lot of foot traffic and people are starting to come downtown more than they used to," Donna said.

They hope to be good neighbors by supporting the other local businesses and donating their nightly leftovers to area nonprofits.

"We want to be a part of the community," Ron said.

"We can't make it if we're not," Donna added.

 

 

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