By Kathy Ritchie | Photo by Mark Lipczynski
Don't let the name fool you. Sirens' Café in Kingman is just as tempting as the mythical creatures that lured men to their deaths with their sweet songs. In the case of Sirens', the café, it's the food that draws diners into the under-the-sea-inspired (in a charming way) eatery. Of course, it also helps that owners Carmella Hynes and Denise McMillan, the mother-daughter duo behind Sirens', are the kinds of people you'd want to share a glass of wine with.
"The number one comment we get is that Sirens' feels like home," Carmella says.
"It's about the four F's," Denise chimes in. "Food, family, fun and friends." And since opening for business in 2009, their four-F mantra has paid off. Folks swear by Sirens', and it's easy to understand why.
"We make most everything we can from scratch," explains Carmella, who studied cooking in Florence, Italy, when she was 19. "We make our own crust for our quiches, we make our own pasta and our own ricotta — we're also very spontaneous. People come in asking when we're going to make our French onion soup, and I say, 'When Mom feels like it.'
Lunchtime is bustling. There's a board with the day's specials written on it: spinach-mushroom-Swiss quiche; roast beef panini with red peppers, caramelized onion and Swiss cheese sauce; and zucchini-and-lime soup. Green soup?
"I saw something similar, so I started playing around with it," says Carmella, who makes the majority of the soups. "I wanted everything to be green. There are jalapeños, zucchinis, green onions, cilantro, celery and limes. It's cooked in stages, so the flavors are layered together."
They say the mark of a good chef is her ability to make a first-rate soup, and Carmella can certainly bring it. The soup is delightful — light, fresh and full of flavor. Sirens' other offerings are just as delectable. The crust on the quiche has a buttery, right-out-of-the-oven flake to it, and the tender, slow-roasted beef on the panini is piled on thick, oozing with flavor.
Ironically, sandwiches were never part of the plan. "This place used to be a deli, and when we started working on the menu, people kept saying, 'We want sandwiches,'" Denise says. "We didn't want to do just sandwiches. We wanted to do high-end catering — we love catering parties."
By day, Sirens' is a bustling lunchtime café. By night, Carmella and Denise play hostess and cater everything from weddings to birthdays to corporate lunches. They've also started creating their own events — like their monthly lobster roll party — just so they can cook.
"We send a text message letting people know that we're doing lobster rolls," Carmella says. "People ask to be on our lobster list."
"For being landlocked mermaids, we're very well known for our lobster rolls," Denise adds.
Above all, this mother-daughter team is doing something you don't see too often: They're doing what they want. And it's working. "It's the love of food, but the rewarding part is that people keep coming back," Denise says. "Half our clientele, we call our friends."
Sirens' Café is located at 419 E. Beale Street in Kingman. For more information, call 928-753-4151 or visit www.sirensinkingman.com.