Cafe owners enjoying ‘seconds’

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Off the Water photo/KATIE ROHMAN Sisters Kari Smith, far left, and Michelle Gruszynski, second from right, owners of Rise N Shine Cafe, above, are opening a second diner, The Udder Place. Also pictured are Steve Farr, who is helping prepare The Udder Place and is Gruszynski’s boyfriend, and Linda Purucker, the owners’ mother and part-time employee.

When Niles residents are looking for a break-of-dawn breakfast, 99-cent coffee and good company, they know where to look.

The 9-foot-tall chicken alongside the highway helps, too.

Rise N Shine Cafe, 2616 Detroit Rd. (M-60), Niles, has been serving up breakfast staples to early risers for six years.

Niles sisters Michelle Gruszynski and Kari Smith jumped at the chance to own the long-standing diner after seeing the “for sale” sign.

“We had talked about this one for years,” Gruszynski said. “We knew it always had a good reputation.”

Six years later, the owners are banking on the cafe’s success by adding a second location.

The Udder Place will open in late February or early March at 2328 E. U.S. Highway 12, Niles, the former location of Country Cafe Again, which closed in 2011.

The sisters were not planning to open another restaurant, but they considered the offer after a Realtor approached them.

“It’s going to be similar to this,” Gruszynski said, referring to Rise N Shine.

They had initially considered the name “The Other Place,” but Smith’s boyfriend, Jaime Viteri, proposed “The Udder Place,” which follows their country theme at Rise N Shine.

Longer hours

Although the diners will share similarities, The Udder Place will be open for dinner at the request of customers.

Rise N Shine is only open one evening — Friday until 8; it is closed by 2 p.m. the other six days of the week. The Udder Place will be open until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 2 p.m. on weekends. Opening hours have not been determined.

The sisters have been scrambling — no pun intended — to renovate the new location for opening, and have had numerous friends and community members lending a hand.

Their parents, Linda and Henry Purucker, who are retired, help at Rise N Shine and even trekked to southern Indiana last year to bring home Rise N Shine’s roadside chicken for a Christmas gift. Henry still helps out occasionally with washing dishes, and Linda works there part-time.

Rise N Shine’s customers are also excited for the new restaurant’s opening. The cafe has many regulars — some who visit two and even three times a day.

The Udder Place will offer the same large breakfast selection and lunches, but with “hearty, homemade specials” — scalloped potatoes with ham, stuffed peppers and goulash — for dinner, Gruszynski said.

Pile on the favorites

Rise N Shine’s “pileup” — scrambled eggs, cheese and other ingredients piled up — is a customer favorite. To keep that cafe’s trademark menu item, they are instead offering a skillet — a similar breakfast meal — at The Udder Place. Other Rise N Shine favorites, like the stuffed French toast and Philly beef sandwich, will also be offered at The Udder Place.

“We want to be known for our low prices and large portions,” Smith said.

“If all goes well, you’ll see a cow out front this Christmas,” she said with a laugh.