Cafe keeps old values under new owners

Patty Ann’s is mainstay of community life in Kiowa

Geraldine Smith
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 5/14/19

Annette and Todd Burmaster bought Patty Ann’s Cafe in Kiowa in December 2017. They, like others, were distressed when the former owners retired and Patty Ann’s was in peril. A favorite Kiowa …

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Cafe keeps old values under new owners

Patty Ann’s is mainstay of community life in Kiowa

Posted

Annette and Todd Burmaster bought Patty Ann’s Cafe in Kiowa in December 2017. They, like others, were distressed when the former owners retired and Patty Ann’s was in peril. A favorite Kiowa haunt was in jeopardy, and Annette and Todd stepped up to keep the 115-year-old building occupied. Besides, what would happen to the resident ghost at Patty Ann’s when there was no one to “boo”?

Luckily for the ghost and the restaurant, the Burmasters had chosen Kiowa as their retirement community and were eager to own a business in their adopted town. Becoming regulars at Patty Ann’s, they recognized the special charm of both Kiowa and Patty Ann’s. Often, over coffee or a meal in the restaurant, they would speculate about what they would do if they owned such a restaurant.

As it will, the universe was eavesdropping. Patty Ann’s was suddenly for sale and the Burmasters rescued the historic building. A new era was dawning. The regulars were a little nervous and, truth be told, so were the Burmasters, because this was their first foray into the food and beverage industry.

Everyone was unduly concerned. The Burmasters appreciated that the Patty Ann formula for success and its atmosphere were not to be trifled with and only made cosmetic changes, leaving the fundamentals strictly alone. Critical to its success was the same excellent staff with their intrinsic understanding of customer service. A little paint, the display of historic pictures, table arrangements and other minor decorating only enhanced the ambiance. Any residual apprehension of patrons disappeared when the same menu and reasonable prices were offered.

With their fears allayed, former customers still patronized the restaurant, meeting friends and bantering with the staff, satisfied that Patty Ann’s had not changed.

However, one change is the chef. Their son, Josh, who studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales, has been a chef for 10 years and is responsible for opening for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

Annette and Todd chatted with the Elbert County News about the cafe and their business philosophy.

What does the cafe offer?

We serve homestyle breakfast and lunches 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Wednesday through Sunday we also offer homestyle dinners from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. After Mother’s Day or Memorial Day we have outside seating on the back patio.

Why is Patty Ann’s a favorite gathering place?

You are not ignored when you walk in and service is the most important thing. It is all about how you feel and how you are treated. Anyone who is looking for real sense of community finds it here. One review compared it to walking into the 1800s. That was exactly what we were going for!

Are there challenges to being the town gathering place?

The challenges are for our staff. They seat a table of four and when they return to take the order a couple of other friends have arrived. Upon bringing the order, they find, the table has grown to six or maybe two groups are now one at the same table. They do not mind because they, too, are friends with most of our patrons. .

Are your demographics mostly local residents?

We serve the people of our eastern communities, especially during the winter when we are hermitized. We do get the truckers year-round and as the weather becomes sociable so do tourists and people from Limon to Highlands Ranch who venture forth for bike excursions or day trips.

Do you feel community involvement is important?

Our immediate community is of paramount importance to us and anything that brings people to Kiowa interests us. We are active in the Kiowa Merchants Association, which strives to include merchants who are not brick and mortar. We offer our back room to groups for meetings free but do not endorse or sponsor any specific group. We do as much of our own outreach as we can because we are concerned about our county. At Thanksgiving we partnered with the Simla Fire Department and ECCO (Elbert County Coalition for Outreach) to provide meals to citizens. We also work with the Kiowa Library and have author readings here because the Kiowa Library is too small.

How do you spend your leisure time?

We love sports and our favorite teams include the Saints, the Broncos, the Avalanche and we have even been to the Rockies spring training camp.

Find Patty Ann’s Cafe at www.facebook.com/pattyannscafe/kiowa.

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