Man with love of restaurant industry buys Nancy’s Cafe in Albert Lea

Published 10:16 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

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New owner, same menu. Such is the case with Nancy’s Cafe, which has a new owner in Luis Flores, who took over in February.

“I’ve always been working in the business for restaurants,” he said. “I’ve always been working in different kinds of restaurants, and I see this as an opportunity for me to open a business here.”

For Flores, who enjoys working with and talking to people, as well as cooking, working in the restaurant business has always been something he’s considered while working in the business for 26 years.

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“I saw this as a big opportunity for me,” he said. “… I love to work in restaurants.”

Flores has owned the cafe since Feb. 1.

He first started working in restaurants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before he moved to Waterloo.

“After five years working there I moved to Minnesota, specifically in Austin, Minnesota,” he said.

He worked in Austin for 11 years, before he started working mornings at a breakfast/lunch restaurant and nights at another Mexican restaurant.

After nine years, he spoke with Nancy Newman, former owner of Nancy’s Cafe, who agreed to sell the business to him.

Flores, who has experience in managerial positions, loved the idea of owning his own place. But before he took full ownership, he started working with Newman last November to learn the recipes.

So far, the only thing that surprised him is opening at 4:30 a.m.

“We have customers at that time,” he said.

But even then, he said he thought starting that early was ideal, and said he respected customers who arrived that early.

He also appreciated the kindness people have shown him, and said it was easy to work with people and manage them.

“So far I’m very excited about everything,” he said, referring to owning a business, the people he works with, customers and the restaurant in general.

Above all, he loves working for his customers.

“Everything I hear is positive,” he said, referring to what customers have told him. “A lot of customers … they are happy that I took over this place. They feel like everything’s gone very well so far.”

And ensuring a smooth transition between owners was a priority of his.

His vision for Nancy’s Care was ensuring good service and good food.

Over the summer, he plans to do some painting and add televisions.

“Change the look for summer,” he said.

He’s also thinking about adding new plates to the menu, though he said the same menu would be kept.

Currently Nancy’s Cafe employs eight people, but said he may add more staff later if he decides to extend the cafe’s hours.

“My priority is to take care of breakfast and lunch, and for now I have enough people to take care of that,” he said.

Above all, he wants to ensure Nancy’s has the best service and best food the restaurant can provide, and said he’ll always strive to be better.

“I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to work here, I’m happy to see my customers,” he said. “I always pay attention to what they say about business, and I always make sure they leave happy.”

Nancy’s Cafe is at 120 S. Washington Ave.