The Grandest Party of All

in Stateville News

By Catherine Diehl

220 Cafe has called Downtown Statesville home since 2010, and because of the roots the owner has planted within the community, their doors have stayed open and their dining room has only become filled with even more intimacy and solidarity. 220 Cafe is an open space with beautiful wooden accents that grace the sides of the room, and as local artwork hangs along the walls fortifying the roots in which they’ve planted in Downtown Statesville, the source of this characteristic restaurant is found in the owner, Kelli Simko Walker.


Kelli has been an integral part of 220 Cafe’s story since it opened in 2010, and in 2015, when Kelli had the opportunity to make 220 her own, two partners, Bill and Lisa McBane, invested in her, her passion, and the restaurant. After 5 years of ownership and 10 years of investment, Kelli’s passion for her dream restaurant grows fervently year after year. Since her ownership, Kelli has truly made 220 her own, keeping everything locally sourced and close to home, including the origins of the flavor of the food. Kelli has a strong dynamic partner that helps her keep her dream and vision for 220 alive and that partner is her husband, John David Walker, Executive Chef of 220. “He’s the glue that holds everything together and really just the perfect fit for the restaurant. He took it to a whole other level. His passion for food really shows in the business from presentation, to quality, and to camaraderie, ” said Kelli with the sweetest smile of adoration and appreciation for John, and when you see the plated food, your mouth starts to water with anticipation of the flavor.

Ten years of passion

Kelli’s wheelhouse of skills has made owning a restaurant even more fun for her and her passion fuels every move she makes when it comes to keeping this dream ignited. “The restaurant business encompasses everything I’ve done in my career, from sales to marketing, to building the relationships,” and for her, “pretty much at a restaurant, it’s like you’re throwing a party every night. I have done a lot of event marketing in the past, and for me, it was just putting on an event every night and building relationships with customers, and the one-on-one time with the people here is what I love the most, it’s what I’m passionate about.” With the quaint, warm, and characteristic atmosphere of 220, and as the large windows soak in all the natural illuminating light, you almost feel as if you’re a part of a Great Gatsby scene where everyone is welcome and you can get away from your reality for a few hours. The cafe is filled with a sense of comfort, and it’s safe to say that Kelli’s warmhearted personality is the foundation of where that feeling comes from.

Locally sourced and freshly served

When you speak to Kelli, it’s evident that 220 isn’t just a business to her, but a livelihood, a joy, ocean deep passion, and a source of her happiness, and with her restaurant meaning so much to her, she has put every thought and effort into making it what it is today. “I have always been a big believer in giving everything 100%, not cutting corners, and we try to live each day here with that in mind,” said Kelli, and by staying true to that, their seafood and meats are cut in house, sauces, dressings, and desserts are all made in house, and for wine, “we have a boutique wine list. We source smaller vineyard wines that you won’t find on the shelves in the grocery store, but you may find in our downtown wine shop, Wine Maestro, or we hope you come back for it!”


Not only is everything made in house, but everything is sourced locally. From their music to art, to farm and produce, they try to work locally as much as they can, and they even get their flowers from Johnson Greenhouse. They utilize the Farmers Market when it’s downtown and “Howard Family Farms have been great to work with,” said Kelli. Their entire aspiration for 220 is for you to not feel like a stranger when you come in, for every interaction to be organic, for you to experience the community and the local flavor, and be immersed by a contemporary feel with that southern hospitality. 

The grandest party of all

Kelli’s heart is geared towards the people of Statesville, as well as the community that has helped her keep her dream alive and thriving, and in celebration of 220 Cafe’s 10 year anniversary, Kelli let social media tell a very important story. “Everyone in our community and the surrounding area has shown such amazing support over the past decade and we could not have done it without all of you! I would like to thank you for the love that has kept this dream alive,” and over the past ten days, they have been highlighting some integral people that have been a part of the growth and positive change for 220, which is the grandest party of all.


“We know during COVID, creating an event is not an option, however we still wanted to find a way to celebrate with the community. We felt recognizing some key customers (friends) leading up to our anniversary would be a nice way to say thank you for the support we have received. The hard part was not being able to recognize everyone. We did want to thank some of the corporate love that we have received in the area. Companies such as Kewaunee Scientific, they send us so much business and catering, as well as Piedmont Forklift and Kooks Custom Headers, who work with us each year during the holidays and throughout the year. They all have shown so much love over the last 10 years, and these are just to name a few,” said Kelli. With their ten year anniversary falling on a Wednesday, they will also have half-priced bottled wine, which is a flavorful way to celebrate a decade of serving others. From all of the Statesville locals, we’re thankful for the ten years of flavor, growth, dedication, and passion that has poured out into the community and onto the streets of Downtown Statesville, making 220 Cafe a home to so many.

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