Years ago, I stopped for a noon meal in a cafe in a small North Dakota town that shall remain nameless. I was one of roughly a dozen customers being served by a single employee, who seemed to be the proprietor.
The guy was having a rough time of it. He didn’t have most of the items listed on the menu — no hamburgers or toasted cheese sandwiches, among others — and his coffee-maker was on the blink. Most of the customers apparently had been waiting a long time for their orders, and the employee/proprietor was, well, a little surly. Less charitably, he was downright cranky.
My point? Running small-town cafes is hard. Running them well is especially difficult.
In my travels with Agweek, I’ve eaten in, written about or interviewed people in numerous small-town cafes. The overwhelming majority of the establishments are run well, and some are run superbly.
My Nov. 27 Agweek cover package looks at 10 Upper Midwest farm-town hangouts submitted by readers as exceptionally good. Here’s the link.
Thanks again to readers who submitted their favorites. And thanks to all the owners, proprietors and employees of small-town cafes who make this a better place to live.