— Marsha Brown
WEATHERFORD — It’s not unusual for large publicly-traded corporations to spend millions of dollars in research and development to create single original concept. But two Parker County residents Joan Martz and Lottie Hatch may have just done that inside their neighboring kitchens on their days off — and they did it for fun.
“We’ve been neighbors and friends for years,” Martz said. “Every Monday Lottie would come over and we’d swim and play scrabble. We’d take turns cooking.”
This went on for a couple of decades. One day one of the women (they can’t recall which) made the casual remark, “We should open a restaurant.” The statement would be repeated a number of times through out the years by both Martz, who is a nurse and a native of Hampton, England, and Hatch, a homebuilder from New Zealand.
Somewhere along the way the suggestion stopped being a pleasantry and grew into a serious business plan. When the demand for custom-built homes began to slow, the two women began searching in earnest for a location to fulfill their dream.
“We found this little place (at 1213 Fort Worth Highway),” Martz said. “It’s never been a restaurant before but it’s a great location. Once we remodeled it, the little building is quite pleasant and a perfect spot for a little café and bakery.”
Hatch and Martz called their business, “Tumums.”
“Because, we’re both mums,” Martz said, with her accent at full strength. “Both of us have children, so we’re mums! You know, she’s a mum and I’m a mum. I’m from England and she’s from New Zealand. We call our mothers, ‘Mum.’”
The menu consists of sandwiches, soup and pastries.
“We wanted to do it all a bit differently,” Martz said, “so, we serve only meats that we cook ourselves and we serve everything in generous portions.”
Tumums’ menu offerings include Monte Cristo sandwiches with raspberry dipping sauce, Philly Steak sandwiches, Tuna Melts, and Rueben sandwiches. Soups, handmade from scratch daily, include Broccoli Cheese, Oven Roasted Tomato and Tortilla. Salads include a Greek, Caesar and Chef.
“We’re just two old mothers trying to make a living,” Hatch said. “We’re having fun with it and everyone told us there’s nowhere else like this in town. This is a lot of hard work, but then we knew it would be, going into it.”
Hatch, who is Tongan, was a homebuilder for 25 years, and president of Sanft Homes (She named the company after her grandfather) I have cooked and entertained a lot.
“With this economy a lot of people have had to do something different,” Hatch said. “We have both wanted to do this for a long time.”
While sandwiches make up the majority of the meals the partners of Tumums serve, pastries are a big attraction for the majority of the customers.
“Right now we’re filling cream puffs,” Hatch said. “We have a peanut butter and jelly cake. Most are recipes that are just ours, things we’ve come up with on our own or altered family recipes, like our peanut butter and jelly cake. This is a cute little place that’s not too big, not too small but just right. We wanted that home atmosphere. We have dishes that look like dishes from home. We wanted people to feel really, really comfortable like they’re going to eat at their mother’s house.”
It’s been two weeks since the partners opened the doors of Tumums and already Martz and Hatch have established a regular clientele.
“I love the food and the owners are fantastic,” said Pam Decker, one of the restaurant’s customers. “I’ve eaten here three times this week. It’s really good and the owners are as nice as they can be. They don’t do anything like other restaurants do and I really like that.
Another patron was equally impressed.
“It was really good,” Amber Adair said. “This is the first time I’ve eaten there. It’s not your typical restaurant food. Everything has a really good flavor to it.”
Adair indicated that she plans to come back.
A grand opening is still in the planning stages for the eatery, the partners haven’t served up a date for that.