About five years ago, Lisa and Dennis Hemrica took the plunge and decided to purchase the Houston Family Café in Kenton. They renamed Kenton’s only coffee shop, Brierwood Creek Café & Grill.
Brierwood became successful within the community, but like a tidal wave, Covid hit service industries in communities large and small in 2020. How would the new Kenton restaurant fare?
The determined owners made the shift as many restaurants did, providing take-out and following the rules. Brierwood Creek Café came through with flying colours.
While Dennis helps out, he has another full-time job so Lisa is the working manager. She said Kenton and the surrounding communities have kept her in business. “Loyalty is huge. They’ve got us through Covid. I can’t say enough. The community support’s been overwhelming.”
Along with Kenton patronage, out and about people from Virden, Hamiota, Oak River, Sioux Valley and Oak Lake are customers.
A faithful staff makes the difference. Cheryl Hill of Lenore has been with Brierwood from the start as has Olivia Tolton (now back to university). Other staff include Norma Miller and Addy Johns.
“We’ve got great staff. It’s the key for sure.”
Brierwood also caters meals and has wedding events in their future line-up. For those, occasional employees from the area pitch in. It’s not all gravy. Hemrica adds, “It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.” But she does love her busy business.
Small touches like freshly made soup du jour and exceptional burger buns may help to account for Brierwood’s popularity. Hemrica likes to support local suppliers and says she purchases her buns from Valleyview Co-op and the Hamiota bakery.