THE EATBEAT: On Mondays, it’s chicken and dumplings in Kennedy
When I sat at the counter of the cafe, I could see in the kitchen a big tray of buns that had just come out of the oven. I was trying to get a quick lunch in the café on Main Street before the parade started.
Kennedy was celebrating 125 years of existence in northwestern Minnesota in June with a parade and homecoming. And as always, the only café in this small town was the gathering place.
Tami DeVore, who leases the café from the VFW Club in the same building, is equal to crowds as well as the regular daily fare. She seems to move to the music.
There was a tray of freshly baked caramel rolls on the counter. There were homemade cookies. And the place was crowded. Still, with good helpers, DeVore handled the crowd. After the parade that day, she went out and catered a wedding.
And she was back in time to open at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
“We were super busy,” she said.
That seems to be the secret of success for a restaurant in a small town. The café is waiting with breakfast fare and coffee when the regulars gather around in the morning. The people around Kennedy know if it’s Monday: The café is serving potato dumplings called klub. They look for chicken dinners along with the salad bar between 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. They expect hot dishes and sandwiches.
And they know that the best bet is to order the specials.
DeVore grinds her own meat and bakes her own hamburger buns. She sells 50 to 60 caramel rolls every week.
It seems her success comes from being steady and dependable. She has the support of her daughter Brittany Bommersbach, who works with her. She values business from employees at North Star canola plant north of Kennedy and the True North implement dealer south of town on Highway 75.
DeVore got her start in the restaurant business in Northwood, N.D. She liked it so much that she took on the challenge in Kennedy.
There, she and her husband, John DeVore, have raised their four children. They have two grandchildren.
The secret for success at the Kennedy Café seems to be catering to all customers. The café offers half portions to elderly at noon. Arrangements are made to deliver food to a few who are unable to come to the cafe.
The restaurant seats 42 with a middle room that can accommodate 80. Beyond is the VFW Club that owns the building, which also houses the bank.
Owner, head cook and baker: Tami DeVore
Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday; 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday; 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday
Seating capacity: Up to 170
Report card: An attractive, friendly small town restaurant with specials on which customers depend. Service is good, prices mid-range.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 701-772-1055.