Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Dream Fulfilled

Longtime employee Mikki Perrine now owns and operates Ginger's Cafe

Mikki Perrine was one of the first employees of Ginger's Cafe.  Now she's making her mark as the restaurant's new owner. 

The Noblesville native took over Ginger's in September in order to ensure it remained locally owned.  Call it fate, call it serendipity, call it what you will; the events that lead to Mikki Perrine becoming the owner of Ginger’s Café have all added up to the fulfillment of a dream.
Her discovery of the restaurant dates back to two years ago, when the café had just opened. Perrine was next door at the hair salon getting her hair cut when she saw the sign and decided to check it out for lunch.

“I fell in love with the place,” she said.

So Perrine, a mother of two, decided to apply for a job.

“I just came in to help out, the hours were good with my kids,” Perrine said. She has enjoyed working as a waitress at the café ever since.

Earlier this year, Perrine heard rumors that Ginger's previous owners might close or sell the café and said she was heartbroken by the thought of the restaurant closing or losing local ownership. So, Perrine did what she had to do to ensure that wouldn't happen.

“I decided to give it a whirl and put my name in a hat.”

She recalls telling the owners that if they were serious about selling it, she might be serious about buying it. Three days later, while on a business trip to Dallas for her other job as a Homemade Gourmet representative, Perrine got the call.

“I got an offer I just couldn’t refuse,” she said with a smile. After talking it over with her husband, John, she became the new owner of the café she loves.

“I’ve not looked back,” she said. “It’s just been fabulous. This is something I always wanted to do, but never thought I could, financially and otherwise. They (the previous owners) had laid the groundwork for me, and I was able to come in here and do that part that I love to do: take care of the customer.”

Having very limited restaurant experience prior to working at Ginger’s didn’t deter Perrine. She had worked at Jim Dandy’s as a teenager, but that was the extent of it. However, Jackie Bolden, who has been the restaurant’s original and current manager, said Perrine's transition from waitress to owner was seamless.

"It's worked out really well--for our customers, for us as employess,"  Bolden said.  "I'm much more the bookkeeping side, she's the people person....Half the customers didn't know, so we just went around and told thm 'Well, you know, Mikki is the owner now.'"
It’s evident that Perrine loves people and loves what she does.

“I love to eat and I love to cook!” she said with a laugh.

From the mismatched dining table and chairs that span generations, to the Noblesville memorabilia, vintage license plates and quilts that adorn the walls, to the great customer service and food, the café feels warm and comforting.

“I just love the people that come in. I want people to step back in time a little bit, not have to worry about what’s going on their life. Just come in and have a nice meal, visit with friends, and make some new ones.”

Dedicated to Service
For as much fun as she has, Perrine is serious about providing a special dining experience. How far will Perrine go? She related her latest big cooking venture:
“I spent the night here the Sunday before Thanksgiving cooking turkeys. I know there are people that don’t have a whole lot of family here, or who would be traveling, or had family that maybe wouldn’t be here on Thanksgiving.”
Perrine wanted them to be able to experience a homecooked Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, so she served the Thanksgiving meals for the three days before Thanksgiving.
“We have a tiny kitchen, so I had to cook the turkeys at night.”
“But it’s ok,” she added, after revealing that she slept on the floor. “I also got some paperwork done and was lulled to sleep by Karen Carpenter.

Ginger’s Café Info
Open 7AM-2PM seven days a week
Breakfast is served all day
Daily Lunch Specials
Sunday Specials
Breakfast with Santa December 20 from 9-11AM
Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
1804 E. Conner Street (located behind McDonald’s)

Ginger’s Café Trivia
Ginger’s Café is named after the original owners’ best friend, whose name is Virginia, nicknamed Ginger.
Opened two years ago this month
Noblesville paintings and other memorabilia adorn the walls
Mikki Perrine plans to add her extensive cookbook and rolling pin collection to the Café in the new year
The Ginger’s Egg Breakfast (eggs, meat, homefries, homemade biscuit and gravy all for $7.95) is really popular

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