When you first pull up to the address at 12401 Johnson Drive you may be thinking “Am I still in Shawnee?” By the looks of things you may feel you have just been transported to somewhere in Europe, but the answer is yes, and you have arrived at Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle.

Owned by Chef Renée Kelly, Caenen Castle (pronounced Kay-nen) was built in 1907 by a Belgium immigrant named Remigius (Remi) Achille Caenen and served as his home for the next eleven years. After Remi’s death, the castle was sold. Over the years, the building has served as a restaurant, a private residence, a nightclub, and a haunted house.

While most girls growing up think about prom and their wedding date, Kelly spent hers cooking with her mother and was consumed with kitchen utensils and cookbooks or reminiscing about a certain meal, she had eaten.

When it came time for college, Kelly decided she wanted to be a Maxillofacial Surgeon. After a short stint at Texas A&M she realized that was not her calling.

While on a trip to Chicago, Kelly had a meal at Charlie Trotters. The idea of a Prixe Fixe Menu and other aspects the restaurant offered became her inspiration for becoming a chef.

She enrolled in culinary school and graduated at the top her class. Kelly then worked at a country club in Houston and few other places across the country before finally settling back home in Shawnee.

After looking at several venues that she could call her own, Kelly learned the castle was for sale and purchased it in 2003. After some renovations, she officially opened as Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle, on July 15, 2004, as private event venue and catering business. The castle celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007 and now is on the Kansas Historic Register.

Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle is mostly known as an event venue that can host weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, corporate events, cocktail parties, meetings and more, also offers off sight catering, cooking classes, special wine dinners, prepared meals available for pick up (must call ahead to order) and other in house events.

The Castle is open to the public on Sundays and Thursdays. Every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. the castle hosts a Sunday Brunch that consists of an ala carte menu, with the exceptions of Easter and Mothers Day, which will offer a Grand Buffet. The buffet prices will be $25 for adults and $15 for children. Reservations are required for parties of eight or larger. Pricing for ala carte brunch entrée’s are $8.95 to $12.99

Every Thursday from April through November, the castle offers “Thursty Thursday” from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. These evenings feature a static menu of small plates, entrees, and drink specials. The menu will vary with the season and entrée pricing will not exceed $14.00.

I have yet to make it to a “Thursty Thursday but have been for brunch and must say it was magnificent. Due to my sweet tooth, my dilemma was either the pancakes or pound cake French toast that is served with fresh berries and whip cream. My son decided on the pound cake French toast, so pancakes it was. Served with breakfast (sweet) potatoes and applewood smoked bacon made the meal complete. It was a great combination to have some salty flavors along with the sweet. As we played musical plates with the family trying the other dishes ordered, we all decided we were treated like royalty at this castle.

The décor is charming and elegant. The original stone walls, wood accents, ornate fireplaces and grand staircase give it a real castle feel. It truly is a perfect venue to host any special occasion.

Kelly used to aspire to be the best chef in America, but has now shifted, and wants to take a more healing approach to food. As a firm believer in healthy eating and using a farm to market approach in her dishes prepared at the castle, Kelly has created the Cinq Meal Plan, which incorporates what she calls the “5 seasons” (spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter). This plan is designed to eat what Mother Nature provides us and what is in season. Kelly believes your body needs certain foods at certain times noting that your body does not need watermelon in the winter and in late summer is important it fill up on the fresh vegetable to boost your immune system for the upcoming colder months.

This Cync Meal Plan is available for delivery and will provide for you every week with wholesome nutritious food, using local and organic foods when possible. Each week provides 15 meals and two daily snacks and is available in packages from 5 to 12 weeks. There is also specific meal plans to choose from like lean down, endurance athlete, tailored perfection and more. Visit www.blog.weddinginacastle.com/cinq/ to find the plan that is right for you or to learn more.

Kelly also plans to offer cooking classes teaching this style of eating by using farm to market foods.

Whether you are looking for a unique venue for your next event, a magnificent place for brunch an intimate Thursday night, a catering service, a cooking class, prepared and delivered meals or more, Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle has it all.

Below is a list of upcoming events open to the public. For reservations and pricing, call 913-631-4100.

March, 10, Thursday Cooking Demo Irish Heritage 11a.m. – 2 p.m. & 6 – 9 p.m. $30.00 per person, plus tax.
March 17, Thursday St. Pat’s Day 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Menu ordering
March 23, Wednesday Wine Dinner, Wines of Spring 6 – 9 p.m. $65.00 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
March 24, Thursday Cooking Demo Gluten Free 11 am – 2 p.m. & 6 – 9 pm $40.00 per person, plus tax.
March 26, Saturday Baby Wellness Noon – 3 p.m. $25 per person

April 2, Saturday Wine Dinner Spring Renaissance 6:30 – 9:30 pm
April 6, Wednesday Bock Beer Tasting 6:30 pm
April 14, Thursday Cooking Demo Princess Party 11 am – 2 pm & 6 – 9 pm
April 21, Thursday Cooking Demo Spring Market 11 am – 2 pm & 6 – 9 pm
April 24, Sunday Easter Brunch 10 am – 2 pm
April 17, Wednesday Administrative Professionals Lunch 11am -1 pm

May 5, Thursty Thursday Cinqo de Mayo 5:30 – 8:30 pm
May 8, Sunday Mother’s Day Brunch 10 am – 2 pm
May 11, Wednesday Cooking Demo Moms & Daughters 6 – 9 pm
May 12, Thursty Thursday 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Mary 18, Wednesday Wine Dinner King of Wines 6 – 9 pm
May 19, Thursty Thursday 5:30 – 8:30 pm
May 25, Wednesday Cooking Demo Gluten Free Desserts 11 am – 2 pm & 6-9 pm
May 26, Thursty Thursday 5:30 – 8:30 pm
For more information visit www.reneekellys.com or www.chefreneekelly.com

Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle is located at 12401 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66216 (913) 631-4100.

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In Good Taste,