Tucked away in Downtown Brunswick - swaddled on a corner of banks & other buildings - is a colorful little shanty; a not-so-secret (but almost) treasure, "where vacation is a state of mind." Indigo Coastal Shanty is a funky, friendly restaurant that was opened in November of 2009 by Kate Buchanan. Veiled by the giant oak tree it rests upon, this relatively hidden restaurant has been a monument of happy memories for countless locals & visitors; a symbiotic relationship between community & earth, the old, husked inhabitant has become the center attraction of this popular gathering place.
Once the Bluebird Cafe, Kate has worked hard to maintain the building's original charm while creating a totally new atmosphere - one that allowed her to embrace her love for the types of food she prepared for her employees & at home - & one that was vastly different from her other restaurant, Cargo Portside Grill (also quite popular in Downtown Brunswick). "I knew I wanted to go smaller, have a more enjoyable schedule, & work in a cheerful, colorful, art-filled, & inspiring environment," says Buchanan. "The shanty has always been that to me, a beautiful little work-in-progress." Kate says she learned a lot during her last couple of years of ownership of Cargo, which happened to be during the recession, something that greatly impacted business. But she walked away with a clear understanding of what she wanted & didn't want. Her little "shackteau" is recession-proof & has proven it is more than capable of maintaining its title of "favorite lunch spot" for many.
Under new ownership (as of very recent!) more great things await the popular restaurant. "I was blessed to recently pass Indigo on to the new owner, Judah Lynch, who really gets what Indigo is about - a warm, friendly place that's serious about a relaxed mood, flavors & connections to the community. Judah & I can spend hours gabbing about the restaurant industry, new food ideas, & life. He's a smart, kind & talented young man & I feel good about leaving the future of Indigo in his more-than-capable hands," Kate says. Her mom, Alix Hessler (who has owned three restaurants of her own), inspired Kate to never be afraid of change. In fact, the two embrace it. According to Kate, Alix is "self-made, insanely creative, fearless, & very chameleon-like - constantly changing & evolving - the true essence of an entrepreneur." A member of the community who has made many friends & maintains a great reputation, (ask anybody!) Kate seems to be fearless in her own endeavors; strong & determined, she is starting a brand new chapter in her life to reinvent herself & open the door to new adventures. Perhaps, as business-owners (or as humans, in general!) we have a habit of becoming complacent or sticking to those things which are most familiar. To disregard the internal pull to retreat safely inside our entrepreneurial safe havens takes great courage. "I haven't decided what's next for me. Right now it's about jumping in my husband's convertible with he & our dog, Angus, & hitting the beach!"
Kate has inspired many & she will continue doing so. I can't wait to see what's next!
Visit them on Facebook or in person at 1402 Reynolds Street, Brunswick, GA!