Minster Says Good-bye to Cottage Cafe

Staff Writer

 For those patrons from around the area who had grown accustomed to the made-from-scratch goodness offered in the food and beverages served at the Corner Cafe in Minster, it comes with a note of bittersweet that the establishment  owned by Shirley James has closed, its final day being last Saturday, July 1.

They will surely miss the warm care and attention to detail James and her staff provided for the past five years. Menu items such as breakfast pizza, homemade biscuits and gravy and, of course, cinnamon rolls that Cottage Cafe has become known for will also  be missed. For James it means that she will now be able to step back and enjoy family, friends and retirement.

James notes, “I’m excited to retire. It’s a bittersweet feeling of course. We’ve had a  good business and we’ve has a lot people coming in saying ‘We’re gonna miss you, we’re gonna miss you.’ I thought that I’ve done a good thing here that we’re going to be missed.”

With Cottage Cafe closing and James heading off into retirement, she did mention that she was considering writing a cookbook with her recipes, which she says people have also asked her about.

“For now I’m going to take a little break from food. I’ll never stop cooking. I love to cook and try new recipes so I may just start working on a cookbook.

“My mother was a great cook. She was from Kentucky and she was just a good, old fashioned biscuits and cornbread – everything fried kind of cook. I always wanted to be able to cook like my mother bit I’ve also learned so much more by going to culinary school. About the only things I still use from the South are the buttermilk biscuits and bacon grease.”

Looking toward enjoying her retirement, James says, “We have some trips planned. I’m going to take my grandchildren camping. We have some other trips planned to get away.” After investing so many long hours running the cafe she sounds ready to put in some well-earned quality time relaxing.

James was one of the original owners of the New Bremen Coffee Company. Illness caused her to need to “take a bit of a break.” After culinary school “I just had that love of cooking and love of coffee and had learned so much I wanted to share my knowledge. When this little house was up for sale, I thought it was a shame that something didn’t go in there. So we bought the property to make a cafe.” Her husband Jay has been a strong support all along.

Recalling some of the special events that Cottage Cafe has done, she noted, “We’ve done some concerts, some private dinner parties. We’ve had special events all along for different people, get-togethers, painting classes out in the barn. We’ve tried to just get some different things over the years.”

James wants to thank the community “for all their support and all their friendliness – bringing people in when they have visitors and just really promoting the cafe to the people of Minster and the businesses of Minster as well. I just thank them for five wonderful years. I’ll miss them all but I have a lot of fond memories of our customers and all the people I’ve met.”