by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
John Lange started life in the St. Francis/Upsala area, moving on to other things when he was still in his teens. He worked in the New Mexico oil fields and eventually spent 21 years in Chicago as the owner of Lange’s General Insulation.
“I still run that, and go back about every three weeks,” Lange said.
He moved back to Morrison County in May of 2008, starting John Lange Trucking, hauling road material.
Restaurateurs run in the Lange family, with no fewer than five members in the business.
Lange owned and operated the Family Inn Too restaurant in Kimball in the early 1990s.
“Mom had the Family Inn in Watkins for about eight years,” Lange said. “My brother Henry has Henry’s Cafe in Maple Grove, and my sister Joan had a restaurant in Uehling, Neb.”
Lange’s sister, Paula Lange, who has been coming up to Swanville for the weekend to help out, owned and operated the Family Inn Restaurant in Watkins for a total of 10 years in two different locations. She now runs Paula’s Cafe and Ice Cream in Sartell.
“At the Golden Eagle, Mom cooked while we girls (Paula, Roseanne and Joan) waitressed,” Paula remembers.
So when Lange’s mom, Marian Brinkman, who had moved up to Swanville in July, mentioned to him that he ought to look into Granny’s Cafe and could probably get it “cheap,” he listened.
“I actually want to be around home now instead of driving a truck and running and running,” Lange said.
He and his family have been hard at work already. No sooner had he closed on the mortgage at the bank than he was back at the restaurant pulling up the old carpet. The new carpet was installed that night.
The name of the eatery has also been changed to The Rooster Restaurant.
“We’ve been doing deep cleaning and putting together a new menu,” Lange said. “For now, the hours remain the same. Eventually we will be open more hours.”
Brinkman is the Rooster Restaurant’s head cook. In addition to operating the Watkins restaurant, she cooked for Glen and JoAnn Rohde at the Golden Eagle, for Bernard and Alma Frieler in Upsala and for Fred Frieler in Swanville.
“We’re featuring all homemade cooking — everything from scratch, not out of a box,” Lange said. “There will be real mashed potatoes. Daily specials include homemade soup and homemade bread.”
A new baking room is being outfitted with a new convection oven, also called a wind oven. It holds 16 loaves of bread.
“There will be ‘all you can eat’ fish specials for $8.99, with from-scratch beer-battered fish,” Lange said. “Sundays feature pan-fried chicken, real mashed potatoes and homemade gravy with a slice of homemade bread and a vegetable.”
Homemade pies and bread pudding are available.
“We’re almost all family-run right now,” Lange said.
For more information, call (320) 547-0050.