‘Hidden’ café provides unique dining experience
Main Street Café is a culinary diamond in the rough embedded in Durham’s rustic downtown, just off K-15 between Hillsboro and Abilene.
Blink and dare miss it but the 22-year-old mom-and-pop café is worth a road trip if the family wants to sample a menu inspired by Mennonite heritage.
“Quite a bit of our recipes come from traditional family recipes,” owner Wendell Wedel said. “But I always adjust the recipes. I’m always on the lookout for new things and I keep my mind open to improvement.”
Main Street Café’s all-you-can-eat Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. buffet has become a popular choice for many, and new patrons will likely have to stand in the line that often forms before doors open.
For $11.15, the buffet features savory smoked and baked sausage, succulent barbecue brisket, smoked chicken tenders, sauerkraut, vereniki, mashed and baked potatoes, cherry moas, baked beans, sausage and chicken gravies, deep fried fish and hush puppies, biscuits, cornbread, a salad bar, and a dessert bar with more than 10 varieties of homemade pies, cookies, and cherry cheese cake.
The buffet garners a rush.
“I wish I knew how to handle it,” Wedel said. “When 30 people walk in the first 10 minutes, we can’t service everyone all at once.”
Once a customer went straight to the buffet without getting a table first, then couldn’t find a table to sit at, Wedel said.
“Once in a while we’ve had such a huge line that I thought that we probably ought to have a number system,” Wedel said. “But most of the time people don’t have to wait more than 15 minutes.”
Wedel does a little of everything and believe that part of his business’s success comes from its individuality.
“If we were just like a chain restaurant, well what would make people want to come here?” he said.
Main Street Café also has several walk-in coolers and freezers where Wedel stores the various sausages that he sells.
“When you live out in the sticks, the delivery drivers don’t want to stop by more than once a week, and you have to have a surplus and place to store your product,” Wedel said. “Not many restaurants make their own sausage.
“Some people think we serve ‘Dale’s sausage’ [a different sausage that is made and sold at a food store in Hillsboro]. I have to tell them, no, we make, serve, and sell our own sausage.”
Wedel is behind the recipes for original pork, double pepper, garlic, breakfast, hot polish, chicken sausages, and cheese bratwursts. However, he said that only the original and hot polish are served on the buffet, while the rest are sold for people to cook in their kitchens.
The idea for double pepper sausage came from observing customers.
“Some people just pepper things coal black,” he said. “I thought, well if that’s the way some people like it, then I’ll just make a sausage like that.”
Main Street Café has breakfast buffets July 1 and July 15 from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. that will feature a variety of items. Regular hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, plus Friday buffet dinner hours. The café is not open on Sundays. More information is available at (620) 732-2096 and at http://wedelcafe.com.
“Some wonder how I stayed in business this long,” Wedel said. “Not that I take pride in it, but I thrive on the compliments we get about our food.”