Bizline: Deb’s CaféPublished 5:22pm Sunday, June 24, 2012
Name of business: Deb’s Café
Name of owner: Debbie Lefor of Sister Lakes
Address of business: 106 East Division St.
Telephone number: (269) 519-7573
Date business opened: April 18, 2011
Hours: Sunday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 to noon. Also open Friday and Saturday nights, midnight to 3 a.m., as downtown bars close. “Midnight does better than dinner did.”
Her background: She got her start waiting tables at a full-service restaurant in a huge Woolworth’s in Pennsylvania, where she lived for three years. Lefor previously operated two places locally, Deb’s Cafe on M-51 North, adjacent to Peck Motel, and Gettig’s Crossing, later Montgomery’s Restaurant.
What sets your business apart from similar ventures? Home cooking. Breakfast is her busiest time, with 11 types of omelets and a “farmer’s skillet” — a prodigious portion of an omelet nestled on a bed of biscuits with all three morning meats, bacon, sausage and ham. A lesser appetite could bypass country-fried steak and eggs, potatoes, toast and gravy or corned beef hash for lighter fare, such as oatmeal or a fruit bowl.
Lunch customers “come in for my soups and chicken salad. (Saturday) we have cream of potato, cream of broccoli and chicken rice. I have two or three every day.”
Why did you want to start a business? “I like people and I love doing this. I like to cook.”
Biggest challenge? Parking. She created a rear entrance off Depot Drive, but those parking lots are often full at lunch time given the number of restaurants nearby. “If the parking was better, we’d do better. It’s picked up compared to when I opened, but I’ve been in business before, and I can see it’s not as good as it used to be. People eat out less because of the economy.”