Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 23

by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

Y

ou might not know it driving down Court Street in Fulton. Even a peek
in the front door may not let you in on the secret. But, in the back two
suites of a former furniture store you'll find some of the tastiest, most
authentic Cuban food in Missouri.
For nearly a decade, Fulton Cafe has served a combination of bona
fide Cuban cuisine along with American favorites behind a boutique in
an 1890s building in historic, downtown Fulton. Owners John and Iris
Atkinson serve lunchtime soups, sandwiches and entrees reminiscent of Iris'
youth in Cuba and the years the couple would later spend in Miami.
Many Americans have never tasted Cuban food since the United States
started severing relations with the island nation in 1958. "People have been
very curious about Cuban food, especially when we first opened," says Iris.
"I get asked what Cuban food tastes like. I just tell people that it has a lot of
spices, but it's not spicy. It's a lot of happiness and love."
John adds they keep a balance of American favorites to their menu to satisfy
those who aren't ready to try the regional fare. "It's about 50 percent Cuban
food," he says. "Sometimes five or six people will come in and some order the
Cuban food, but others want something like a grilled cheese they're more familiar with. We'll serve the food and see their interest pique. The guy who got the
grilled cheese may reach across the table to take a bite of his wife's picadillo
and say, 'Oh, that's good.' "
The Atkinsons - who have been married for 27 years - say the authentic
recipes come from Iris' "Cuban Bible of Cooking." She says the book is a gift
every Cuban bride receives. "It's a little pink book and it's very loved in every
household," she says. "They are passed down. You never get a new one."
Sandwiches are the bread-and-butter of the cozy cafe, with most being available in full and half sizes.
The biggest seller is the classic Cubano. The deliciousness is in the details.
Pork is marinated in orange, lemon and lime juices along with other secret
ingredients before being roasted for eight hours. The sandwich uses a Cuban
bread - slightly more dense than a French loaf - the Atkinsons have flown in
from Florida. The pork, Virginia ham, dill pickles and Swiss cheese are heated
between the bread and then pressed on a plancha (think panini) press for a few
minutes.
"The signature cut is from corner to corner and we serve it with a side of
mustard," says John. "That sandwich is usually the first one people who are
interested in Cuban food try."
Another intriguing sandwich is the Elena Ruz. Cream cheese is spread on
egg bread and topped with turkey and Swiss cheese. The sandwich is melted -
not pressed - and strawberry jam is smeared inside right before serving. The
combination of the hot meat and Swiss cheese with the cold jam will have you
coming back.
"People think it's strange to add the strawberry jam to a sandwich," Iris says.
"It is one of my favorites."
Another house specialty is the picadillo. Ground beef is cooked with raisins,
garlic, onions, olives, tomato sauce, roasted red peppers and potatoes. "Some
people don't want to hear that it has raisins in it because they think that's too
different," Iris says. "Then they taste it and love the sweet and saltiness it has."
The mouthwatering entrees at Fulton Cafe are the perfect size for a lunch
break. All entrees are served with a half order of black beans, rice, plantains
and a side salad. Guests also can choose to substitute for three of the nine
sides on the menu. Iris says the plantains and black beans are staples at the
restaurant. They are commonly served in Cuba where the banana-like fruit
grows in the tropical climate.
"The plantains are from the banana family. You wait for them to be yellow and black and they cook to be soft and very sweet," she says. "Then you
have to have black beans. We leave them in water overnight and pressure cook
them with a cheesecloth of peppers, onions, garlic and bay leaves and our own
spices. They're delicious."
Another favorite from the entree menu is the camarones enchilados or shrimp
creole. The dish starts with a tomato-based sauce, which includes onions, garlic, peppers, parsley, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, Tabasco and other spices.
"That little bit of Tabasco is as hard of a spice as we have," Iris says. "On a
scale from one to 10, it's a 3."
The sauce is warmed up on the stove before shrimp is added and cooked
to perfection. The mixture is plated and is a perfect complement to the tasty
plantains, black beans and rice.
It's a family affair in the kitchen for the Atkinsons, who get help from Iris'
mother, with whom she shares a name. The Callaway Electric Cooperative members cook the meals at the restaurant while the elder Iris - who brought her
10-year-old daughter to the U.S. in 1980 as part of the Marial Boatlift - preps
food, washes dishes and makes some of the soup. The staff is rounded out
by customer-turned-waiter Jimmy Trotter. The half-Italian, half-Cuban foodie
explains the menu to new guests and gets them comfortable with Cuban food.
"In the kitchen it can be like a ballet," says John, a Fulton native. "I feel like
we're a well-oiled machine now. With every dish, my wife and I both check it
and then Jimmy does the same. We want to make sure it's appealing to your
eyes and we get it out as quick as we can."
John says that introducing people to a new cuisine is what he enjoys about
the restaurant.
"We try and stick to the basics of Cuban cooking. We don't want to add anything that shouldn't be there," John says. "We just enjoy serving folks. It's a
real joy to bring this food to them and share the culture from my wife's side of
the family."

Fulton Cafe
Specialties: Cuban and American sandwiches including the Cubano, Elena Ruz, Pan
con Lechon, Medianoche, BLT and club.
Cuban entrees including shrimp creole and
picadillo. Cuban speciality coffees.

Fulton

Price: Soups and salads from $3.99 to $5.99.
Sandwiches from $4.99 to $9.99. Entrees from $9.99 to $11.99.
Details: Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed
Sunday. Cash, all major credit cards and Apple Pay accepted.
Directions: Located at 529 Court St. in downtown Fulton.
Contact: 573-642-8444 and www.mkt.com/fulton-cafe-llc.
More content inside
our digital edition
www.ruralmissouri.coop

Above: The shrimp creole or camarones enchilados features a flavorful sauce
made with onions, garlic, peppers, tomato sauce and other spices that envelopes
the shrimp. It's served with rice, plantains and black beans. Below: The summer
salad features in-season produce and is served with a vinaigrette.

JANUARY 2018 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

23


http://www.mkt.com/fulton-cafe-llc http://www.ruralmissouri.coop http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2018

Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Intro
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 4
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 5
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 6
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 7
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 8
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 9
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 10
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 11
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 12
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 13
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 14
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 15
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 16
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 17
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 18
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 19
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 20
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 21
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 22
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 23
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 24
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 25
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 26
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 27
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 28
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 29
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 30
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 31
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 32
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 33
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 34
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 35
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 36
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 37
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - 38
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - January 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com