After several failed attempts by previous owners, the 260 Café is finally serving up success thanks to a few local misfits.
Kathy Bickert and Diane Fitzpatrick bought the café, at 803 E. Highway 260, two years ago this December and have amassed a loyal following ever since thanks to some common sense decisions, like serving home-cooked food and pies and treating customers like family (the ones they like).
The women call it Miss Fitz, an ode to their personalities and the mismatched décor.
“(The name) goes hand in hand that nothing matches in this place and Diane’s last name is Fitzpatrick,” Bickert said.
One reviewer on Yelp described the furnishings as rolling office chairs mixed with fixed back chairs and various furniture — “a family get-together when there are more people than seating.”
And that’s just how the owners like it.
“We wanted the comforts of home — home-cooked meals and great customer service — that is basically what we strive for,” Bickert said.
And they seem to be hitting the mark. A guest book by the front register is full of positive customer testimonials.
Server Loretta Lira, who has worked on and off at the café for three years, said the previous operations were more about business and this is “more about family and people, it is a friendly place.”
Bickert, a self-proclaimed hugger, said she doles out more than 60 hugs a day, sometimes getting a line of regulars.
Lending to the homey feel is the fact that the staff has known each other for years.
Bickert and Fitzpatrick worked food service at The Rim Club and Chaparral Pines some 10 years ago with four other now Miss Fitz employees, including chef Jeremy Prest, Fitzpatrick’s son.
After going their separate ways, Bickert to the ReStore and Fitzpatrick to cook at the hospital, the 260 Café has brought them back together.
Bickert said when she heard the café was up for grabs she was excited, but hesitant. In the past few years, there have been three owners, the last one only there for six months.
Inside, they found a restaurant neglected and dirty.
They cleared everything out and after three months of cleaning, felt ready to open.
Bickert thinks the other owner failed because the food was lacking and so was the customer service.
She didn’t worry Miss Fitz’s would have the same fate.
“When you get two people that have been cooking most of their lives — home cooking — then you know what people like,” she said. “We knew what we were capable of doing and knew we could do it, we have the chemistry with people and we knew we have a following because all our food, the mashed potatoes for example are from real potatoes, not out of a box.”
Top sellers include their pies, cinnamon rolls, adult grilled cheese, omelets, salads with homemade dressing, soups and meatloaf.
“There are no cutting corners here,” she said.
And if a customer wants a Reuben for breakfast, they make it.
“We have all this food in our kitchen, so why not give them what they want?”
For more information, call (928) 474-5881. Miss Fitz is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.