As Clint Eastwood avowed in the acclaimed movie “The Bridges of Madison County”, “this kind of certainty comes but just once in a lifetime.”
The Northside Cafe, the very cafe from the Oscar-nominated movie, is certain of one thing – simply taking it in the face from Coronavirus will be the death of this industry. The 144-year-old cafe is releasing “The Novel Corona Cookbook”, with proceeds to support the cafe and other emblematic Mom & Pop restaurants like it nationwide.
“We’re at a crossroads, no two ways about it.”
Northside Cafe co-owner Scott Valencia is a fervent believer that Americans do not want their diners, cafés, neighborhood restaurants and eateries to simply fold.
“We understand with these book sales alone that we’re not going to ‘save’ a restaurant,” Valencia explains. “Our hope is that it will create similar movements around the country to not let these pieces of our social fabric simply disappear because we can’t frequent them in the same way for the time being.”
“The Novel Corona Cookbook” is a light-hearted recipe book, already on pre-sale.
Northside head chef and co-owner, Walter Jahncke, adds his twists and unique takes on classic American favorites, but the goal of the book in Walter’s words is clear: “30,000 books can save a business, 100,000 plus can jump start an industry.”
The Northside Cafe opened in 1876 in one of Winterset’s first brick-and-mortar buildings. Likely as old as the city, the town square where the cafe sits was placed on the National Historic Register. Cafes like the Northside and thousands of others nationwide have been part of American life for generations. Many have passed through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and two World Wars.
The youngest “employee” of the cafe is Jillian Valencia, the 14-year-old daughter of Scott and a promising baker.
“Nothing would make me happier than to bake 30,000 tenderloin buns to save our family business.”
The book needs to reach 30,000 copies sold to inject enough liquidity into the Northside to keep it afloat. From there on, for every 1,000 sold the cafe will donate $5,000 to a Mom & Pop restaurant.
Via an energetic social media campaign, people nationwide will upload photos of their favorite Mom & Pop restaurants. Once approved as a Mom & Pop (no chain restaurants can be submitted), a virtual drawing will occur and the winner announced. This will take place region by region across the US after each batch of 1,000 copies is sold.
“Winterset is a tight-knit community with a big heart,” notes Michele Jahncke, also a co-owner of the cafe. “We’ll also be donating via merchandise sales to non-profits and museums in town that are really struggling. This is just an extension of this spirit.”
The birthplace of John Wayne, Winterset is a resilient town, and Valencia remains optimistic.
“There are hundreds of thousands of other families with stories like ours. Restaurants like the Northside Cafe don’t just serve food. We’re extended members of families, and this virus will not take that away.”
Priced at $30 the cookbook is currently available for pre-sale only at www.historicnorthsidecafe.com.