Small Café Switching Up Dinner Scene

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Guests enjoy lunch at the Small Café Wednesday. On July 1, patrons will have the option of getting dinner at the café, which has been serving homemade comfort food for 25 years.

One of Payson breakfast institutions, the Small Café, is switching gears and menus to stay afloat in the economic times.

Starting July 1, the eatery will no longer serve breakfast Tuesday through Friday but will switch to a dinner and lunch service.

On the weekends, the café will open for its familiar and famous breakfast and lunches, which it has served over the last 25 years.

Owner David Roberson said he waited long enough to switch the café to a lunch and dinner establishment.

“The economy made us change,” he said. “We have lost a lot of morning customers like contractors and real estate agents. It would have been tough to continue without this change.”

Over the course of the year, the weekday breakfast crowd has dwindled with only a few tables filled. Roberson expects to at least double that number with dinner service.

Roberson said he and his staff are excited to make the switch and offer Payson residents an alternative to the normal dinner cuisine.

“We are the alternative to the Friday night fish fry,” he said. “We will offer comfort food items you can’t get anywhere else.”

Virtually every night, Roberson will offer two to three new dinner specialties. Delectable dishes include walleye pike with lemon butter sauce, trout almandine, rosemary French dip, shrimp and spinach cheese pie, venison meatloaf and a vegetarian favorite, portabella and veggie sandwich.

“A lot of the dishes will allow us to have more fun and really get our creative juices going, I think people will appreciate it.”

The Small Café proudly makes everything from scratch, except for the bread, which it gets from the Red Elephant and baker Joe Dice.

Cost for most dinners will range from $9 to $12 and diners are allowed to bring in their own bottle of wine.

“We don’t want to do $7.99 dishes because people expect something better here,” he said.

With new hours, Roberson said he hopes he doesn’t lose any of his loyal customers.

“We have some of the most dedicated customers who keep this place going,” he said. “We hope to offer them more choices, not fewer.”

The Small Café, located next to Vita Mart in the Twin Pines Shopping Center, is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Saturday night dinner with Chef Jack Etter, starts at 6 p.m. Reservations required.

Etter worked at the former Oaks Restaurant and serves up three unique dinners each week. Roberson calls it “polished comfort food.”

The menu for June 27 with Etter includes prime rib, grilled salmon, rosemary chicken or a sauteed vegetable platter. To reserve a vegetable platter call ahead.

Call (928) 474-4209 for reservations and list of daily specials.

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