What’s on the menu at Mind Your Own Business restaurant in Brookfield? Burgers and sandwiches for sure. As for the rest, well, as co-owner and chef Ned Capouch would say, it’s driven by “sales and seasons.”
“A lot of times it’s just me walking around the supermarket and something catches my eye, and I’ll build a meal around that one thing,” said Ned Capouch, who runs the restaurant at 8420 Brookfield Ave. with his wife, Barbie, who works the front of the house.
“Everything is always changing and in flux,” he added. “We don’t like stuff in cans or frozen. Everything is fresh, to order. I don’t patty the burgers or cut a tomato until they’re ordered.”
For example, around St. Patrick’s Day, Ned ran into some great prices on broccoli and cabbage. The result was a special soup called Green Dragon, which proved so popular he’s kept it on the menu as a regular feature – against his own inclination.
“Three batches is about as far as I’ll go because I have to switch it up,” Ned said. “I get bored making it and saying it, but this one may hang on for summer.”
Previously, he got a great deal on brie cheese, so there was a brie-based soup on the menu for a few weeks. Another connection hooked him up with some portobello mushrooms, fresh from the Wisconsin cave where they were grown. Portobello burgers, a vegetarian menu option, was the result.
From the name of the business to the way it has evolved since it opened last December, Mind Your Own Business is a quirky mix of renegade cuisine and down-home comfort. For those who aren’t familiar with the address, it’s the former site of The Paw (and, later, The Station) at the corner of Hollywood and Brookfield.
“Ideally, this is a place where you’re welcome to hang around and no one’s chasing you out,” said Ned, whose sometimes gruff exterior is softened by a love of nature, music and, of course, food, which is influenced by Mexican, Caribbean, southern and even Czech cuisine.
The restaurant also caters to vegetarians, says Ned, as well as carnivores, “the idea being you can get a really good burger and a vegetarian can sit with those people and get some quality food at the same table.”
Barbie plays the foil to Ned. Outgoing and friendly, she is also the one in charge of making the restaurant’s desserts, including a wicked coconut bar.
“The restaurant truly renewed the concept of how much I adore people,” said Barbie, who previously spent time working in corporate administrative positions. “I also know my husband better than ever in our entire marriage.”
Ned and Barbie, both 36, have been married for nine years and live in nearby Summit. Ned grew up in Brookfield, so opening the business here was something of a homecoming.
He also called 8420 Brookfield Ave. one his old haunts, back in the day when Norm Scaman ran the Olde Country Store at the location.
“I was familiar with the building,” he said. “As I was looking at another building, somebody rented it. So I went on a quest and this was one of the first ones to pop up.”
Since December, the Capouches – the lone employees of the business – have been getting used to life in the restaurant business, which was a complete departure from their previous careers.
Officially open six days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., the restaurant has sometimes closed for a day or so depending on personal commitments. Regulars who want the latest scoop on hours or specials should visit the restaurant’s website, updated regularly by Barbie, at www.myobhollywood.wordpress.com.
The couple also pays rent on what was once The Station’s bar on Hollywood Avenue, but it’s not open yet, as the business doesn’t have a liquor license. Someday maybe.
“We have the intention of opening it up and serving liquor,” said Ned, “but felt it was in our best interest to become proficient in what we’re doing now.”