New restaurant to open New Year's Day

With the new year will come a new business in downtown De Soto: Wanda's Roadside Cafe and Stuff will be opening in the other half of the current Dollar General.

Come 6 a.m. Sunday morning, Jan. 1, the new restaurant will be open and serving "homemade, All-American, comfort food," according to owner/operator Wanda Riedhart.

"I just want this to be a place where people can come and feel at home and get good food and good service," Riedhart said.

In the beginning Riedhart just plans to serve breakfast and lunch from 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday.

"We may see about adding dinner in the future but for now we just want to see how things start out," she said. "For now I'm not even hiring any staff, it'll just be me and my family getting things going."

Riedhart's daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, nephew and in-laws have all been pitching in over the past two months to help her get the building, which has been empty for nearly a year since Oalis' Mexican restaurant closed, ready for the opening.

"My family has been here every step of the way, there's no way this could be happening without them," Riedhart said. "From doing physical labor to providing moral support, they've done it all."

While the cafe will be the first restuarant Riedhart has owned and operated herself, she's always been in the restaurant business. As a child growing up in California her parents owned multiple restaurants and started Riedhart out young learning the business.

"My parents, especially my mom, taught me to work. She taught me how to wait tables and cook and treat customers and staff as people because they are people," Riedhart recalled.

It is this family atmosphere, the "mom and pop" mentality that Riedhart hopes her restaurant brings to De Soto.

"I feel like we're losing the personal touch in business and especially in restaurants," she said. "I want this to be a community gathering place with local art on the walls and a group of older guys getting together for coffee early every morning."

To go along with the community feeling she's hoping to build, Riedhart plans to support other local businesses and producers.

"I'll be getting all my meat from Steve's Meat Market and I'd love to find a local egg producer too," she said. "What I really can't wait for is the spring and summer and the chance to use local produce too."

There's still a lot to be done in the building before the opening in a week and a half, the grill isn't quite ready and the waitress station hasn't been finished, but Riedhart is confident it will all come together and her dream restaurant will open.

"It's a bit scary but in a good way," she said. "It's an excited scared and I can't wait for the first."

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