May 25, 2016

Happy Days at Haley Dais Café

by Bonnie Allmon Coffey

If you blink, you might miss it. Marked with a bright orange coffee cup sign is Haley Dais Café at 426 Highway 21 West in Cedar Creek, and it’s a quiet little spot tucked amongst trees that’s well worth a visit. It’s where you’ll find just what they advertise: “Good Home Cooking and Comfort Food.”

First, a bit about the unusual name, Haley Dais. The restaurant was named after the grandmothers of the owner and her husband.  Mahalia B. Rice (better know to those who were in her sphere as “Haley”), Haley and Mercy Dais both inspired the cooking and thankful spirit of Owner/Cook Sherrina Rice-Franklin. 

Sherrrina, a bright personality, has quite the background that includes being a counselor for at-risk youth as well as an elected city councilwoman in Bessemer, Alabama. An inquisitive, driven woman, Sherrina was looking for something that kept her closer to home and filled her heart… and Haley Dais was born.

While her lack of recipes sometimes frustrates her staff (no kidding – she cooks without recipes!), her obvious talent is evident in the homemade dishes she offers. Currently, the popular orders include chicken and dumplings and her new tradition of seafood every Friday has created a buzz, particular for the catfish. Occasionally, a community lunch is featured on the last Sunday of each month where diners are asked to bring a donation for their meal – be sure to look for those!

As a fan of big ol’ breakfasts, I have had the pleasure of Sherrina’s cooking. Here, you’ll have your choice of grits, eggs, bacon, sausage, chicken, biscuits and more. Wow.

Sherrina’s talents originally lay in baking and she offers homemade breads for sale, including the standard white and wheat but with the occasional jalapeño with bacon and cheddar. Yum!! If you have a specific request, give Sherrina forty-eight hours, and she can provide additional tasty breads.

Also homemade is a wide variety of jellies and jams. Assortments depend on the season, so spend a few minutes perusing the line-up. The day I was there, offerings included orange-pineappple and jalapeño-strawberry. Need a thoughtful gift? How about a loaf of homemade bread and a jar of Sherrina’s jam or jelly?

I had originally met Sherrina when she asked for business advice from the Bastrop Main Street Program’s Entrepreneur-Ready Leadership Team for the business her husband, Michael, now handles (fodder for a future article). When I asked Sherrina what she liked best about Haley Dais (open since January 2015), she smiled and said, “Being able to serve people. Whoever needs to come through those doors finds me.”

And the other nice thing? I have never left Haley Dais without a warm hug from Sherrina.

Haley Dais Café
426 Highway 21 East
Cedar Creek, TX  78612
(512) 321-2797
Facebook: Haley Dais Café

Tuesday-Friday: 7am-4pm
Saturday (Breakfast all day!): 8am-2pm
Sunday & Monday: Closed
Sundays available for special events & private parties

A native Texan, Bonnie Allmon Coffey is a writer and lover of learning the stories behind the people she meets. She’s lived in Japan and Belgium and is a gypsy at heart. Living in just 585 sf, she’s learned to keep only those things she loves around her. Her business (Bonnie Coffey & Associates, LLC) allows her to work on various projects that expand her brain cells.

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