The Buttercup is the picture perfect sidewalk café. On any fair weather day, colorful umbrellas shade tables filled with families and friends. The yellow cottage that is the café’s home is painted a sunny yellow that lets diners know they’ve arrived at the “cheerful full-menu restaurant” described in the Old Town brochure.
Inside, the atmosphere is just as upbeat. Folks chat at tables in the front, while a bakery and ice cream counter separate the dining room from the kitchen. One can see into the gleaming kitchen, which gives off sizzling sounds and aromas that make it difficult to order only one item from the menu. A Buttercup “experience” captures the friendly feel of an old-fashioned diner, the kind of place where patrons left with satisfied taste buds and feelings of goodwill.
That’s exactly what Buttercup owner Jamie Temple intended when he opened the restaurant eight years ago. Temple grew up in New Jersey, helping out at his grandparents’ diner, built to look like an old railroad car.
“I wanted to create a place that was affordable and fresh and happy,” Temple says.
It’s obvious he succeeded. Fun signs, fresh flowers and Mardi Gras décor lift the spirits, while the menu lives up to Temple’s “affordable” goal. Signature breakfasts, salads and burgers star on the menu, complemented by sides like roasted red potatoes, fruit salad and a standout-write-home-about potato salad.
Steeped in the restaurant/entrepreneur tradition, Temple moved South 35 years ago, after service in the Coast Guard brought him to New Orleans. Temple owned several iconic businesses there, including a popular bar, a swim club and a bookstore.
Temple and partner/husband Marnie Cossitt eventually bought a weekend place on the Mississippi Coast, deciding to move to Bay St. Louis full time. They built the Buttercup building shortly after Hurricane Katrina and opened in spring of 2006. The café, serving both breakfast and lunch, became an instant hit.
One group of friends met for breakfast at the Buttercup the morning it opened and for the past eight years, has started every day the same way. Several other small groups of friends and business people have regular “meetings” at the café as well. And since the Buttercup is both kid-friendly and dog-friendly (at least outside), it’s become a favorite daytime hangout for locals and tourists.
The homemade factor is one reason the restaurant has garnered so many fans. Muffins and cookies are baked on premises, while all salad dressings are made from scratch. In cool weather, homemade soups are menu favorites. Year around, specialties like flame-grilled burgers and Reuben sandwiches (“you’d swear you were in New York!”) keep customers coming back.
Temple works in the restaurant too, so it’s common to see him serving up coffee or delivering plates of food when the Buttercup is crowded. His impromptu comedic banter reveals a true knack for showmanship.
Local community theatres have benefited from Temple’s talents too. One of his favorite roles was that of the villainous and hilarious “Dr. Einstein” in a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” by the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre. “I love to do accents,” he admits.