When co-owner Kelly Chappell opened the first Galaxy Cafe 16 years ago, he said the idea of a restaurant offering quality food via counter service was relatively unheard of.

At Galaxy, diners order at a counter and have their food brought to them. Chapell equates this service style with fast-food chains, but said he and his co-founders, Chris Courtney and Jay Bunda, wanted to combine the quick-service approach with high-quality ingredients.

“We wanted to get the food as close to the customer as possible without all the service issues,” Chappell said, adding that because there is no waitstaff, guests can choose to stay for hours or minutes.

Chappell describes the atmosphere at Galaxy as relaxed and community-oriented, and said he wanted to create a gathering place for a diverse variety of individuals. When the first location opened, he said, LGBTQ groups could be seen sitting next to baptist preachers, tattoo artists and grandmothers. That level of diversity still remains a priority for Galaxy Cafe's founders to this day.

“When we started, people would ask what my target market was, and I’d say ‘everyone,’ and they’d laugh,” Chappell said.

Galaxy’s Cafe’s menu is also wide-ranging, offering macaroni and cheese, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, vegan burgers and Buddha bowls, all made with free-range and antibiotic-free eggs, chicken and beef.

Though the menu items are consistent throughout Galaxy’s three locations, Chappell said the aesthetic of each restaurant is crafted with the community members in mind. He added the Steiner Ranch location incorporates a bit of downtown flair, but the restaurant still caters to the many families who live in the area, offering a playground and outdoor patio with sunset views.

Chappell said building a sense of togetherness remains one of Galaxy Cafe's core values, and the company aims to contribute by hosting parent teacher association meetings and school spirit nights. The cafe also sponsors youth kickball teams, orchestras and other neighborhood programs.
"We've found our place over the last 16 years, and part of that was done by being hands-on within the community," Chappell said.