Dressed-up mannequins pose in corners of York St. Café in Newport. Kitschy salt and pepper shakers dot one shelf, while vintage children's toys occupy another.

While the décor is eclectic and a conversation-starter, the restaurant is somehow at the same time, comfortable. The food adheres to that same rare dynamic.

"I feel like I can do whatever I want. I don't feel like I'm in a box. You can do Asian, Indian, classical French," says Chef Amy Carter. "Anything goes, and that's why I love this place. You can do what you want, as long as it's good."

Carter, the restaurant's daytime chef, shares the kitchen with Chef Curtis Kutschenreuter, who often goes by Chef Curtis Paul for the sake of untying our tongues. Kutschenreuter hopes to expand diners' options with dishes including salmon with onion marmalade and pomegranate syrup, or mussels with a Thai coconut ginger sauce.

"Most people are only comfortable with foods they've heard of and are familiar with," he says. "It is difficult to try to get people to go beyond that and try foods they haven't heard of."

Of course, he offers the more familiar stuffed Amish chickens and the fresh catch with a three-cheese artichoke topping, which please York St.'s less adventurous patrons. For Carter, who dishes up the desserts, customers will even call ahead to make sure she has a favored strawberry buttermilk cake before setting foot in the restaurant.

"I don't ever know what anyone looks like, but I know their names and what they eat," she says of York St.'s crowd of regulars.

But it's no surprise that diners have found something charming in the unique dynamic between chefs, cuisine and décor at York St. Café. They keep coming back for more.

York St. Café, 738 York St., Newport, KY. (859) 261-9675 or www.yorkstonline.com.