After almost a year’s absence, the Burns community once again has a local café. Mark and Fritzie Hatfield of Burns have established a business in the former Burns Café and Bakery at 106 E. Broadway, and have named it Flint Hills Café and Bakery.
Fritzie Hatfield manages the restaurant. She has several years of experience working across the street at the Buffalo Gulch Ranch House that was in operation in the early 2000s. She operated her own Mom’s Café for one year there after the ranch house went out of business about 10 years ago.
The mother of six boys said she quit the business because she found it impossible to juggle work and home.
“I had little kids and I felt guilty for never being at home,” she said. “It took too much of my time.”
The Hatfields’ youngest son is 18 now, and Fritzie Hatfield said she is ready to return to running a café.
However, she said her concern for the town is the main reason she decided to open the café.
“I hated to see no cars in town,” she said, “and I just don’t want to see any more businesses close. When a business closes, it hurts the whole town.”
She said Jim Bob Watkins bought the Burns Café at auction in July after the owners retired and is letting the Hatfields use the building rent-free.
“We only pay bills and taxes and would like to own the building someday and do more with it,” Hatfield said.
She said another business could occupy the west room.
Several family members work with her, including her sister, Margie Roth, and daughter-in laws Alexis Hatfield and Faith Hatfield. Eighteen-year-old Jesse, who is homeschooled and has special needs, washes dishes.
“The café gives him an opportunity to work,” Hatfield said.
She also employs two teenage girls.
The first day of business was March 15. The café is open Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a full breakfast and lunch menu. Every Friday night, a fully home-cooked special meal is available, with doors open from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Hatfield’s pies are on the menu throughout the week. As many as 10 varieties are available Friday evenings.
She said hours of business might change as time goes along. She is considering being open on Saturday instead of Tuesday. She uses Facebook to promote the business and let people know about weekly specials.
Mark Hatfield is a computer technician for petroleum refineries. His contractor job often takes him away from home, sometimes even overseas.
He said he wasn’t sure how the café business would go or how long they would continue.
“We’re not looking to make a lot of money,” he said. “We’re just hoping to break even.”