When Matt and Mary Beth Borchardt moved to their ranch style home 10 years ago, the house afforded them room they needed for their growing family. The lot, with its expansive front yard, had a backyard big and flat enough for soccer or baseball games, a chicken coop and even a tree swing.
“The boys were just toddlers then. Ben had just turned 3, and it was a month before Sam’s first birthday,” Mary Beth says. The house, as they had planned, was indeed one to grow on.
With four bedrooms, three baths and an expansive main suite, the house built in 1971 in unincorporated St. Louis County met their needs for space, but it didn’t have the flow the couple would have liked. When they took on a kitchen remodel during the pandemic, they knew they wanted an open floor plan for the main living area.
“We have a lot of family and friends we invite here for holidays and get togethers. Everyone always gathers in the kitchen, and having that room open now gives us options. People can sit at the table or the island. They can go out to the back deck and eat out there if they choose. They can visit and catch up on the couch, or have conversations in different seating areas,” she says. “With the open kitchen, Matt can still be part of the party when he’s cooking.”
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The Borchardts knew just where to turn when they decided to remodel. “We worked with our friends Larry and Ande Buechel at JS Tile & Marble. Larry, Ande and their two children were in our wedding. They’re like family to us,” Mary Beth says. In fact, they have been the go-to source for home remodels for most of the Borchardts’ extended family, too. “It was comforting having them in our home and helping us work out the plan.”
Both Mary Beth and Matt knew to expect surprises, and they counted on their friends to find solutions to bewildering situations.
“We discovered the wine and beverage fridge we bought for under the counter in the kitchen didn’t fit flush with our cabinets. No problem. Larry build a frame behind the cabinets to solve the problem and support the granite on top — a very cool solution that flows in the space,” she says.
For Matt, the deeper countertop was an unexpected dividend – more room to make drinks and set with boards and trays of food. “I also have more counterspace for the other side of counter near the stove for prep.”
Matt researched the stove. “I went from a conventional 30-inch home stove to a six-burner top with a 12-inch built-in griddle and two convection ovens,” he says. “You can even proof bread in those ovens.”
Matt Borchardt knows a few things about stoves. His professional career as a chef and culinary arts instructor led him and Mary Beth to another big decision seven years ago when they opened their own business.
The Borchardts co-own Edibles & Essentials café and small artisan market in St. Louis Hills. True hospitality and caring for people runs in their veins. “We’re co-owners, but Matt is the proprietor at the café. I am an orthopedic nurse,” she says.
When we asked if he develops recipes for the café at home in his super-kitchen, he said he wears two chef’s hats — one for home, and one for work.
“When I cook at home, it’s more for parties or for necessity,” he says. Matt and Mary Beth go out to dinner with friends and for special celebrations, but chefs and nurses have busy schedules and limited time at home. When Matt is working, Mary Beth cooks for herself and the boys.
“When you have the skills I have, we can have great dinners at home as well as time together,” he says. His favorite place to hang out in the summer is on their spacious back patio, which opens off the party area of the kitchen. In winter, he likes to relax on the couch in front of the fireplace with the family. “There’s a special place on that couch reserved for Daddy,” he says.
There’s also a special place for the family’s chickens. The family has kept backyard chickens for many years. “Matt built the coop. We use the eggs all the time at home,” Mary Beth says. “We don’t usually name our chickens, but when Sam was younger we had a chicken that only stood on one leg and hopped around. Sam named her Flamingo. She died just a few years ago.”
In October, the two will celebrate seven years in the business their two boys grew up in. “Ben is more interested in cooking and spends quite a bit of time in the prep area with Matt at the restaurant. Sam is more of a front of house guy. He loves to be out with the people, interacting, talking and of course, bussing tables,” she says.
“We’ll probably celebrate with a pig roast here in October,” Matt says. It will be a fine affair with family, friends and customers, held on the back patio of Edibles & Essentials. Then they’ll go home and relax in the peace and quiet of home.
Matt and Mary Beth Borchardt
Home • Unincorporated south St. Louis County
Family • The Borchardts have two sons, Ben, 13 and Sam, 11. Their animal family includes two lively dogs: Ginger, an Australian shepherd mix, and Hashbrown, a golden retriever, both of whom respect the chickens who share their backyard.
Ages • Matt is 48; Mary Beth is 52.
Occupations • Matt and Mary Beth are both owners at Edibles & Essentials, a small artisan market and café located on Hampton Avenue. Matt is the proprietor of Edibles & Essentials. Mary Beth is an orthopedic nurse with BJC Healthcare.
At home with the Borchardts