Andre Harris is the new operator of Patio Pancake Place and hopes to reopen the popular decades-old Salida restaurant by Sept. 15.
“We’re keeping the staff that will stay and we’re hoping to eventually be open every day,” Harris said. “We’re searching for kitchen and service staff.”
Anyone interested can call Harris at 719-207-5023 or Michelle Evers at 719-207-1000.
Harris is originally from Jamaica and has been with McDonald’s restaurants for the past 11 years. He is currently manager of the Salida McDonald’s.
The name will continue as Patio Pancake but the word “Place” will be dropped.
“We’re celebrating the history of the Edwards family at this location and forging our own family legacy,” Harris said.
The family includes his wife, Vania, and son, Jaiden, 14.
“We want to keep it a family restaurant and build on what the Edwardses started,” Harris said. “I’ve always wanted a breakfast-type place. The hours will remain the same, with breakfast and lunch and a similar menu. Our object is to provide a wholesome breakfast for visitors and locals.”
Discussions with the Edwards family began about two years ago when Harris first learned they were thinking about closing.
For Jean Edwards, 88, and her family Aug. 28, their last day at Patio Pancake, marked the end of an era.
“We have memories of wonderful customers over the years, from many states,” Edwards said. “We were in business for 46 years. We had people come back every year when they were vacationing, and it was so pleasant seeing them and knowing they remembered us.”
She and her husband, “Ed” Edwards, bought Patio Pancake Place on U.S. 50 in Salida from John and Lucy Butterfield on Sept. 1, 1976. Over the years four generations of the Edwards family have worked there in various capacities. Daughters Cindy Peacock and Katy Croft worked there almost from day one. Cindy’s husband, Dan Peacock, was the manager. Dan and Cindy’s daughter, Jill Peacock, was a waitress and hostess for many years. Cindy and Dan’s son, Grant Peacock, worked mainly on the grill. Croft’s son, Michael DeLeo, worked in the kitchen and his wife, Alicia, was a waitress.
Bringing the staff into the fourth generation, Grant Peacock’s daughter, Jayla, and Michael and Alicia DeLeo’s daughter, Adilas, were hostesses. (If you didn’t catch that, Adilas is Salida spelled backwards.) The family matriarch, Jean Edwards, hasn’t worked at the restaurant in three years but still does the books at home.
“We’re grateful for all our wonderful local customers and we’ll miss everybody,” Edwards said, “but our family is looking forward now to having some time together just for fun.”
Over the years Patio Pancake Place won many Best of Salida awards for food and for service. Its most recent claim to fame was a feature article in Westword Magazine on July 13, praising its chicken fried steak that “stays crispy under a generous blanket of rich, creamy country gravy dotted with pepper with two eggs, toast or a pancake alongside. And worth the extra $1.50 for the golden hash browns made here with shredded potatoes.”
Prior to the Edwards family buying the restaurant, Patio Pancake Place was already a popular eatery. John and Lucy Butterfield bought it on June 24, 1964. Their son, Mitch Butterfield, said, “Dad was an assistant manager at Safeway. The Patio building was there at the time but it needed a lot of work. Pipes were broken and there were other problems. Highway 50 was just a two-lane highway then. Dad and Mom began talking with Dick Tuttle at the end of 1963 about the building which, I think, had been an Army surplus store Tuttle owned.”
When Patio Pancake Place opened it originally had a patio with tables and a drive-up window as well as indoor seating. The restaurant was full service, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the three Butterfield kids, Jay, Neva and Mitch (the youngest), all helped out at the business. Mitch became a short-order cook at age 15 and was able to buy his own car, a Plymouth Superbird, when he was old enough to have a driver’s license.
The restaurant was closed on Wednesdays so the family could go to church. In summer the Butterfields hired a lot of high school kids. Mitch’s future wife, Ginger, was among them. She started out as a dish washer and later became a waitress.
Kitchen workers all wore white shirts and bow ties, and waitresses wore polka dot uniforms with aprons. Mitch still has a menu from the early days.
Tips were not expected in those days but were given when service was especially good or a little more than expected was done. Mostly tips were quarters and 50 cents. If a waitress made $30 in tips in a day that was a good day, and girls got to keep the tips they received.
The restaurant was closed every year during December, January and February to remodel, and John was told he would lose business as a result but that never happened. People still lined up to get in when it reopened and even when he told them there were a lot of other good restaurants on U.S. 50, most of the time the customers preferred to wait.
The Patio went to all indoor dining in 1968.
“We never cooked at home,” Mitch said. “On holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the restaurant would be closed but the family would go there and Dad would prepare the meal.”
Another popular thing at the Patio was the businessmen’s coffee club. Each man had his own cup, and John Butterfield would get to work at 5:30 a.m. to pour coffee and prepare breakfast for the guys before they went to work. Among them, Mitch recalls, were Harold Blackwell, Ed Bradbury and Richard Birdsaw, who owned a Sears store.
“There were a lot of restaurants on Highway 50 in those days,” Mitch said. “There was Salida Inn, which was originally a bowling alley, Famous Joe Furphy’s, The Spa and Chris’s Taco. The other restaurant people would visit with Dad and one morning they all got together before Dad came in at 5:30 in the morning and they put a toilet planted full of flowers in front of the door. He had to move the toilet to get in.”
By 1976 though, the Butterfields were ready to do something else, and they sold the restaurant to the Edwards family. They went on to operate Butterfields Carpet Cleaning for 38 years.