CARSON, N.D. (AP) - Eugene Carroll, of Flasher, mopped up the last drops of beef gravy from his plate with a buttery homemade dinner roll and stopped short of licking it clean.
“The dinner was great, and there was a lot of it,” Carroll told the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1JqZUpW ).
A roast beef and mashed potato meal was the noon special April 13 at the newly reopened no-name diner attached to the newly reopened Carson Service Station on Main Street.
After months without homemade food in a cafe setting or anywhere to get gas in town, folks say they are happy to have both restored to the Grant County community, even if the cafe has yet to have its own name.
The Pete and Val Reis family are operating the business, mostly out of a commitment to their community.
“There are a lot of elderly people in town, and they need access to gas and food,” Pete Reis said. “It was a pretty important business when it closed.”
He said as towns like Carson get smaller and lose population, it’s more difficult to get people to invest and believe.
“They’ll worry if they’ll make it,” he said.
His daughter, Shannon Wangsvick, will help run the cafe and said her folks have always pushed community and doing their part to help the town succeed. The family also operates Tuffy Manufacturing on the outskirts of town, a metal fabrication business.
“Mom and Dad really believe in doing your part,” she said.
The family will open the cafe - expect a name soon - six days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday brunch.
Wangsvick said the two local Carson bars stepped up to fill the food gap when the cafe closed in December, but they were limited in what they could offer, both in a family setting and a full-range menu.
“If we can make enough to pay the help and take care of itself, with some for maintenance, that’s all we’re asking,” she said.
Worse was not having gas in town, she said.
Outside, in the warm spring air, L.D. Steinmetz stopped to fill up his pickup.
“I’m super happy it’s open. It’s a local business, it’s convenient and I like the people,” Steinmetz said.
Inside, three women from the North Dakota State University Extension Office in Carson were having lunch, happy to be able to stroll around the corner for a homemade meal.
“It’s nice to have a gathering place for coffee drinkers and a place where we can bring the family,” said Amanda Dahners, who handles the extension’s family and consumer science department. “There was a hole on Main Street when it was closed.”
Katie Wirt, crop science agent, commutes almost 50 miles to work and said she appreciates having someplace handy to keep her gas tank topped off.
“I’m really glad to have a gas station,” she said.
Besides the pumps, the station will be open for mechanic and tire work, Wangsvick said.
The cafe, with Rose Reis Grimm as head cook and Susan Hauge as waitress, will also offer German meals, with cheese buttons on Friday and knephle and kraut on Wednesdays.
The cafe saw a nice amount of business the day it reopened, and Wangsvick said she enjoys helping the old hometown.
“It’s a nice community. People are great,” she said.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com
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