DANBURY — A small coffee and lunch café has finally returned to the Danbury Library after years of back and forth with would-be vendors, the city announced this week.

The new K’s Café serves coffee, soups, salads and hot and cold sandwiches in the library's red-brick extension on Main Street.

The new operation was a long time coming, Mayor Mark Boughton said, after repeated attempts to hire and keep vendors in the space failed over the past three years.

“The Danbury Library has been searching for a partner to fill this space for some time and K’s Café is the perfect match,” Boughton said. “We are proud to add another eatery to our downtown and hope the cafe is a successful business, not just for the library but for the city as a whole.”

The new cafe is named after owner and operator Kervin Francois, who has more than 10 years in the food service industry and serves as operations manager for the Sodexo dining and catering team at Western Connecticut State University.

The café will be the first restaurant-style venture for the American-born son of Haitian immigrants. and is inspired by his time as a boy helping his parents with their own small businesses back in Haiti. His father owned several corner stores and his mother ran a bakery, and she encouraged him to enroll in culinary school, he said.

More Information

K’s Café Hours

The café's hours generally follow those of the library itself, including:

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays

Closed Sundays

Now his dream of running his own business is coming true and his parents are still helping: they staff the counter during operating hours, he said.

“I always wanted to get something to be my own,” he said of opening the café. “So when I saw this, I’m like, ‘Okay, this is my chance.’

“During the day my parents work behind the counter helping people and I help set up and close, but at the end of the day, I don’t think of myself as the boss. They’re still my parents,” he said with a laugh.

The café has been open since mid-January, a so-called “soft opening,” for the family to set up the new equipment behind the counter, Library Director Katie Pearson said. The city will host a formal grand opening celebration at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with Boughton and library staff.

The breakfast menu includes staples such as bagel sandwiches, muffins and coffee. The lunch menu now features a pastrami Reuben panini and meatball sub, along with a half-dozen other cold sandwiches, each for a little more than $5 and $6.

Because of the café's location and design, vendors can serve in the spot but cannot cook there, which made it difficult for some businesses to consider it as a location, Pearson said. Proposals have fallen through twice before K's Café, including a bagel business that backed out before signing a lease and a delicatessen franchise that did not have the support of city officials.

“It’s not an ideal location, anybody can see that,” Francois said. “But I’m like, ‘Hey, why not give it a shot?’ It’s always good to challenge yourself.”

Francois, Pearson and city leaders hope Francois' shop sticks this time.

"It’s something our patrons have asked for a long time," Pearson said. "I think in general just having another option downtown for people to grab a quick bite is great. A lot of times people are here all day, so they don’t want to have to leave to go somewhere to get their coffee or a sandwich. I think it’s a great opportunity and a way to bring more services to our visitors."

zach.murdock@hearstmediact.com