It’s tough to find a parking spot on Main Street in Neligh most mornings, proving that Mamas and Nanas is off to a great start just three months in business.
“Things are going really well,” said Lori Dexter, who owns the cafe with Sheryl Casa and Susan Mickelson. “We’ve been very busy with regulars, and new customers keep coming in.”
The three women purchased Daddy’s Cafe from Daphne Hansen and opened the restaurant in April. After a brief remodel, which included new carpet and painting, the downtown eatery never missed a beat, especially with their morning crowd.
Feeding off that dedication, Mamas and Nanas has become widely known for serving breakfast all day.
“Customers really like that,” Casa said. “It’s so popular we plan to add a second grill in the kitchen.”
Mornings aren’t their own busy time, though. Mamas and Nanas, which was named simply because all three women are either mamas or nanas, has a faithful lunch crowd thanks to daily specials. To accommodate light eaters, they also have offer sandwiches and a salad bar.
Dexter said they always have two meats, fruit, pasta and macaroni salad, as well as a dessert on the salad bar. Dessert was always a staple to meals back with the establishment was known as Bernita's, Dexter said.
“A lot of people are in a hurry over lunch,” she said. “Order our specials or the salad bar are very quick and very popular.”
If you have a little extra time - because tables fill quickly - Dexter said ordering off the menu is always an option. She said it takes a little longer over lunch for menu items simply because they’re homemade and not processed foods.
“We pride ourselves on serving good, homemade food,” she said.
And if you want pie, it might be wise to order that with your meal, but it’s not uncommon for Mamas and Nanas to run out of their homemade pies. Their favorite is the peanut butter pie. They ask serve fruit and cream pies as well.
“They have the best pies in the county,” one customer said loudly. “Order it right away because they sometimes run out before the lunch hour is over.”
Dexter said customers like him are why the new business is doing well so far. She said it’s not uncommon to see the same people two or three meals a day.
“It’s good food and good priced,” the same customer said, referencing a cheeseburger for $2.85. “It’s less money for me to come eat in here than it is to buy all those groceries."
To that, the owners simply smile proudly.
“We couldn’t be happier with how things are going right now,” Dexter said. "We're busy and a little tired, but we're very pleased."