New BB owners not interested in change

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 21, 2002

There are some restaurants that seem to be more than just places to eat, more than just businesses. They are places of the substance of community and family. For Albert Lea one of those restaurants is the B&B Cafe, at Main Street and Sidney Avenue.

The inside of the B&B is small. Stools surround a large island counter behind which the cook flips pancakes and the waitresses pour coffee. Surrounding it are booths, which seem close enough to the counter to still take part in the morning buzz.

&uot;The inside is like a family dinner table,&uot; said Holly Miller, a waitress at the restaurant who, along with her husband Clint, will be the new owner starting Sept. 30. &uot;It is a fun place to work.&uot;

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The Millers are buying the restaurant from Dennis and Roxanne Brue, who have owned and run the restaurant for the past 25 years.

The Brues have established a strong customer base in their tenure at the restaurant. The loyal clientele has been a bit concerned over the ownership change. The question on the mind of the many loyal customers is whether the B&B will keep that core and community.

Clint and Holly hope so. The strong base is very important to keep, according to the Millers, in order to smoothly shift the restaurant into their ownership.

&uot;It’s been a strong business in this area for many years,&uot; said Clint.

&uot;I don’t see us making much of a change,&uot; added Holly. &uot;We hope customers won’t see a big change either. It’s like a big family there and we don’t want to lose that.&uot;

Being careful to keep the familiarity, the Millers have taken many things into account. First and foremost, they were concerned that customers know that they will not be changing the pancake recipe, which has been a major interest of the loyal customers.

&uot;The B&B gets customers from all over the state and country for its pancakes. People drive down from Minneapolis. We even have some in Texas who stop by every time they are nearby,&uot; said Holly. &uot;It’s a very big deal so we don’t want to mess with that.&uot;

Holly isn’t a stranger to the strong relationship between the customers and the management. After working there for one year as a waitress she says she knows the customers well and how things are run. &uot;I think the Brues wanted to see the B&B change hands as smoothly as possible. Denny obviously had some confidence in us to do what he did,&uot; she said.

In January the Brues told the Millers that they were thinking of selling before they put the restaurant on the market. The Millers bought it soon thereafter.

Holly said she believes that the customers, though not eager see Dennis and Roxanne go, are positive about the new ownership. &uot;I think if people had to pick a new owner, they wouldn’t have picked anyone else,&uot; she said.

The Millers will be trained in by the old owners in order to ensure customer satisfaction and retain the feel of the place. &uot;Dennis will be with us for a few weeks, and will help Clint to learn the things he needs to learn,&uot; said Holly.

Clint, who said he has always enjoyed cooking, hasn’t had any experience with restaurant cooking. He admitted that he is nervous about the challenge, but looking forward to the career change. He’d been a banker at Wells Fargo for 18 years and said he is ready for a change of pace.

&uot;We are excited but we are a little scared too,&uot; said Clint. &uot;We are starting on a new venture, with a brand-new lifestyle. But at least we will get to work together. Not many married couples get to do that.&uot;

&uot;I just hope we don’t strangle each other,&uot; said Holly, laughing.

The Brues will run the restaurant for one more week before handing the reins over to the Millers. The restaurant will continue to serve breakfast and will keep the same schedule, 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Millers say they are looking forward to opening up and are hoping to see all of the same faces.

&uot;I’m confident we’ll be successful,&uot; Clint said. &uot;We’re looking forward to it.&uot;