By Jan Rahn
Homemade bread and pies,
fresh salads, a new cook and expanded hours are some of the things taking place at Village Cafe South under new leasee Michael Decker.
“I’m just going to add a little flavor to it,” said Decker, who has also run the Hen House Cafe in Simla, Colo., for the past four years.
Evening hours and a new menu, with new cook Thomas Jones in the kitchen, include what Decker calls “comfort foods” such as seasoned steak, chicken fried steak, barbecued ribs or beef brisket.
Another specialty is the salads offered.
“I like to eat healthy and I like a good salad,” said Decker, “something more than just lettuce from a bag.”
Fresh lettuce and other veggies make up a fancy side salad to accompany entrees.
Burgers and specialty sandwiches are offered on the daily menu that will soon expand to include handmade pizza with homemade sauce.
Decker has been in touch for several years with owner Nancy Aufdengarten. He said her many obligations (i.e. another cafe in Brule) prevent her from providing Village Cafe the type of attention she would like.
The opportunity arose for the Omaha native to not only keep his Hen House Cafe in Simla, a town of 500 which is 30 miles west of Limon, but to be able to lease the cafe in Grant at the same time.
Dedicating himself to keeping Village Cafe open has provided Decker the opportunity to serve the Mennonite population of Perkins County as well as provide the entire community with a family restaurant.
He said he has many friends in the Mennonite Church at large which includes the communities of Grant and Paxton, so feels very comfortable taking the step to serve the areas.
“These little cafes are the cornerstones of small towns,” said Decker. “I wanted to do my part to help people keep their jobs and keep the cafe going for the town.”
Continuing to manage the cafe is Sally Crandell, who discouraged Decker from shortening morning hours because of her pleasure in serving three Bible Study groups who enjoy breakfast and group discussion every week as early as 6 a.m.
“Sally is one of the main reasons I could do this,” said Decker. “I could depend on her.” Waitressing is Aufdengarten’s daughter Jessie.
Decker’s wife, Janet, helps with the cafe in Colorado. They have two daughters Marita, 9, and Sarah, 8, and a son, Peter, who is 7.
The public is invited to stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner and sample some of the new menu items, as well as experience the incomparable taste of home baked goods.