Archive for Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Coffee, conversation and food plentiful at ‘New’ Linwood Cafe

September 28, 2005

At the new Linwood Cafe, as at the old Linwood Cafe, coffee -- and opinions -- flow freely.

Some things never change.

Henry Green, a regular at the cafe for as long as anybody can remember, said that, as always, the political talk at the new cafe's horseshoe-shaped bar is pretty much divided between Republicans and Democrats -- with a few Libertarians sprinkled about.

Green, who is retired, makes his way into the restaurant a couple of times a day. Though the price of a cup of coffee went up a quarter when the new cafe opened in August, Green's not complaining.

"It's 110 percent better," Green said. "The building's 110 percent better."

Growing business

Lianne Abare, owner of the cafe that in August moved from downtown Linwood to the east edge of Linwood on Kansas Highway 32, is pleased with how her business is growing.

The 3,500-square-foot building includes a separate area for groups to meet, and added ventilation over the smoking area.

The old restaurant, which seated 24 and was packed almost every day, now can seat 118 diners.

It was a jolt to move into new quarters and see empty seats. But Abare said her business, which now can handle five times the volume as before, is picking up.

"It's getting more and more," Abare said. "I see a lot of strangers and I see a lot of people that live in the area that had never been in the old cafe. That tells me this town needed something like this."

Abare, who has been working about 100 hours per week since moving to the new restaurant, said she hasn't minded the long hours.

"I just enjoy serving the people of the town and other areas with quality food," Abare said.

Locals have Abare's specials memorized.

Sunday is a fried chicken dinner, served family style. Monday and Tuesday are cook's choice, Wednesday is Italian, Thursday is Mexican; Friday is seafood and Saturday is steak. That's in addition to her regular menu.

And for dessert, there's soft-serve ice cream and homemade pie.

Abare, who bought the old Linwood Cafe in 1994, knows it's important to be open every day. She starts early, opening at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at 7 a.m. Sunday.

Monday and Tuesday she closes at 2 p.m. But the rest of the week she's open through the evening meal.

To help Abare launch her new location, Linwood businessman Jeff Coatney built the building.

Abare, who does bookwork for Coatney's business next door to her new restaurant, is buying the building from him.

"It would not have happened without Jeff, because I didn't have the financial capacity to do it," Abare said.

Her customers are close, Abare said.

"If a person's family member dies we put out the can for them to take up a collection," Abare said. "A couple of years back when I took my first vacation from the old cafe, they all took up a collection for me for my vacation."

Michael Dunivin, who has lived in Linwood all of his 39 years, is one of those loyal diners.

He said he likes the new cafe just as much, if not more, than the old cafe. He's a regular on Thursday nights for the Mexican dinners. And of course, he comes for breakfast as often as he can.

"Still good food," Dunivin said, smiling as he finished Saturday morning's breakfast. "I haven't lost any weight yet."

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