how it all started
Nikki’s Kitchen is the realization of one mom’s life-long dream of running her own restaurant. Founder and owner Nikki Ware is excited to fill Yorba Linda’s need for a comfy local place where the community can congregate for a quick bite to eat, a cup of coffee, or a baked treat. This is her story.
Food is an expression of love
Nikki traces her passion for cooking to learning at her father’s elbow while he experimented with new recipes for the family to try. Her dad, a police officer with a passion for food, was also the cook in the house. He would come home with ideas he’d learned in cooking classes and amaze the family with creations like a poppy-seed Bundt cake that Nikki can still taste today. As Nikki got older, she took over some of the cooking too. It beat doing the dishes!
From her dad, Nikki learned that cooking is an expression of love. Baking the perfect cake or preparing a delightful and healthy breakfast are ways Nikki gives a small part of herself to others.
A winding path
Starting a restaurant business takes time. In Nikki’s case, realizing her dream took longer than she first expected. In hindsight, the wait was worth it.
Like the experience of many women in business, Nikki’s journey to opening her restaurant took a winding course. She met the love of her life, Tom, when she was still young. The couple started a construction company, Progressive Builders, which they devoted all their passion to building into a successful business. Even in those years, Nikki was developing a reputation for hosting parties with the best food around.
After the birth of their daughter, Nikki focused on being a mom and began dreaming again about getting into the food business. While it took many years, as she juggled raising a daughter and running a construction company, Nikki finally started her cookie business, Ware’s Dessert?, where she introduced her famous take on chocolate chip cookies.
Later, Nikki had a son, and once again took time to be a mom. Once he was old enough to help with baking cookies, she felt it was the right time to follow her life-long vision.
Nikki's vision & Plan
giving back to the community
Nikki’s vision was to build a place where locals could grab a light breakfast or lunch in a relaxed, comfortable setting. More than that, she wanted to give her community a new source of inspiration. With her husband assisting with the construction and her daughter Cailyn as co-owner, Nikki and her family worked together to build the restaurant to reflect her ideas. The restaurant opened a week before Christmas in 2018.
As a local Nikki had expected her breakfasts would be popular, but she was still surprised by how excited everyone was to have a place to go for freshly prepared food to start their day. In its first week alone, the restaurant served over 550 people and made more than 150 breakfast burritos. At the end of that first week, Nikki was so excited to have built something so needed, she forgot to feel tired.
A vital part of the community
Nikki’s plan for her restaurant has always included giving something to the community. She is proud to feature products made by local, women-owned businesses and other artisans. And she loves to give back to local causes, by providing baked goods and other contributions.
Balancing her obligations as a mom and running a business has given Nikki plenty of challenges since the restaurant got started. Today, she is excited for what the future holds for Nikki’s Kitchen by expanding into new areas like catering and hosting events.