Short Line Cafe opens in Perry |

The Short Line Cafe officially opened to the public last Wednesday with a full menu. Located at 100 E. Maine Street in Perry, formerly Hootenannies, the building has been recently renovated and is ready for a fresh start.

In fact, freshness is the theme of this farm-to-table restaurant where they call their dishes “comfort food at its best”. Everything that was served on the plate was either grown or raised nearby. Owner Valerie Wollberg is committed to providing high quality food.

“Our pork and beef are all grown by local farmers in the area, and right now we’re getting vegetables from the Amish,” she said. “We know that in winter it will be more difficult to get vegetables, but we will do our best. We have a lot of canned things to use in the winter.

Wollberg’s son and Shortline Cafe’s general manager Sean Gallagher said it’s harder to approach the chicken near Perry. Even the ice cream at the Short Line Cafe is homemade by a vendor in Paris.

The menu consists of hearty pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and wraps. They will also offer homemade soups and a full salad bar. Breakfast is served until 10:30 a.m.

Wollberg said the menu was a collaboration between owner, management and employees. She wants to make sure her staff have a say in the food they serve. Many of them have already participated in the renovation of the building.

“We had some nice people come over and apply and Sean told them they could stay and help during the renovation until opening day. They all stayed around, ”she said. “Everyone had their say. It was a learning process for them, but it certainly took a load off Sean. “

Some of the renovations include a brand new kitchen and moving bathrooms from the front to the back.

They created a whole new look to bring Perry’s story into the building with original imprints of the Short Line Railway, which was built in Perry in 1891-1892, and helped the town grow. Prints were provided by Ron Leake, president of the Ralls County Historical Society, and another vendor.

“Perry wouldn’t exist without the railroad. All of the prints are part of Perry’s story, ”said Gallagher. “There are more to come and one of them will also describe the history of Lake Mark Twain.”

Wollberg, a retired nurse, and Gallagher, a retired carpenter, had no plans to open a restaurant, and they were actually looking for a local church for a possible Airbnb location, when they saw that the ‘old Hootenannies was for sale.

“The Airbnb didn’t work and this place was available,” Wollberg said. “We weren’t planning on opening a restaurant or anything – it just happened.”

Since switching from Airbnb to a restaurant, they’ve created a great plan for The Short Line Cafe. The restaurant will soon include a retail area where they will sell homemade jellies, jams and vegetables, which will open in about two weeks.

They also plan to offer family-sized take-out pasta dishes, a catering option, and will have the option of hosting in-house parties in the back room, which they will be ready to offer in about 30 days. .

Wollberg is very grateful to those who joined in their vision. She said her stepdaughter, Stephanie Gallagher, designed the logo. “She’s helped in more ways than I could count,” Wollberg said. “The money couldn’t pay her back.”

Perry’s Chamber of Commerce also helped prepare for the smooth opening and hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the restaurant on its Business Appreciation Day on October 1. Gallagher said she was grateful for his help in spreading the word.

“The whole community is where we want to focus,” said Gallagher. “We are struggling because we are outsiders reaching out to the community. “

Gallagher said the previous business was not always reliable, but they are hoping for a fresh start. The Short Line Cafe plans to be there with great food, regular hours and a genuine dedication to the community.

“Gone are the old and the new,” Wollberg said.

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