Jane and Steve Kemp rest for a moment in the outdoor seating area. Ben Kibbey
Jane and Steve Kemp rest for a moment in the outdoor seating area. Ben Kibbey

When Steve and Jane Kemp opened Gyros: Food and Art Studios last spring, they weren’t planning on the success they have had in the past year, especially with locals.

About half of their business this spring has been from regulars who’ve made Possum Trot Square their lunchtime stop, Steve said.

Over the past year, they added open-air seating for six — with room to add as needed — in addition to their indoor seating area for another nine.

They’ve also expanded their menu. Originally, the Kemps served only gyros with homemade tzatziki and bottled beverages. Now the menu includes Philly cheese steak and bourbon steak wraps as well as hummus with flatbread and tabouli — a finely chopped salad — as sides. There’s even flaky baklava for dessert.

They also make salads, Jane said. For the those who have wheat allergies, both the Philly cheesesteak and bourbon steak salads are gluten-free.

They can deliver, too: Steve heads out on a red scooter with about a dozen orders at a time within town limits.

They are also scheduled to host a small wedding reception, Jane said.

With all the success of the food side, the couple haven’t had much time to work on the studio side of the business. But they have opened the upstairs shop, where they sell jewelry from around the world, flowing dresses from India and artwork from Steve’s native North Dakota.

The dresses are Jane’s contribution, from a line she enjoys wearing herself. “They’re so cool and comfortable but still classy,” she said.

While Jane runs the upstairs shop, the jewelry side of the business is Steve’s. That started years ago when Steve, who made a living by farming and running a popular concessions business in North Dakota, was looking for a business he could take with him if he headed south in the winter.

He showed off a bracelet he is going to enlarge for a customer. He picked up basic jewelry repair the way he learned to build his concession trailers.

“I’m a farmer,” he said with a shrug. “When you’re a farmer, you’re a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

The Kemps don’t intend to expand the business much more, though a friend, Star Skirvin, helps out on weekends. While they are grateful for her help, they don’t want to put too many layers between themselves and their customers.

“We had a customer last summer that built the Berlin Wall and helped to tear it down,” Jane said.

“I could have sat and talked with him forever,” Steve said.

“We’ve served people from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, all over the world,” he said.

“I like to meet the people that are eating what we cook. The people are where it’s at.”


Thursdays-Mondays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Delivery: 812-318-0840

Boutique open only Saturdays and Sundays during summer.

Author photo
Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.