The Blue Bonnet Cafe Interview Part Five

  • [BEGIN INTERVIEW] [00:00:00] Kathryn Sutton (KS): This is Kathryn Sutton, it's February 28th and I'm sitting in a booth at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. Um, could you please state your name? Brent Klett (BK): Brent Klett. KS: And Brent, where were you born? BK: I was born in Kerrville, Texas KS: Brent, how long have you been working at the Blue Bonnet Cafe? BK: Come Thursday will be eighteen years. KS: And what do you do here? BK: I am a manager and I'm pretty much responsible for some scheduling, I expedite the food. Pretty much do anything from bussing tables to cleaning floors, even cleaning on the bathrooms. So, you name it, I've done it. KS: Great. And how did you come to work at the Blue Bonnet Cafe? BK: Well, prior to working here I worked at the Dairy Queen in Marble Falls. And, Mr. Kemper, John, the owner of the Blue Bonnet actually came up to me once and wanted to see if I was interested in the position. And, for some odd reason the first time he asked I turned him down. And uh, he came back about a week later and he said "I have something you can't refuse," and I've been here ever since. KS: Great. Can you speak as to why you've been here ever since? Is there something that keeps you here? BK: There's really nothing specific, Kathryn. It's-I'm a people person and I just-I've lived in Marble falls for thirty-six years now, and it's a place that just, you know, Marble Falls is home and I've known so many people. And, turned out that the restaurant business is just something that has turned into a lifelong, use the word passion. I enjoy the people, I enjoy the ones who I work with. It's just, it's a good place to work at. Very family-oriented. It's just down-home. It's, it's what makes it special here. KS: And do you think the customers have something to do with that too? Do you have a lot of recurring customers, are there people you know who come in a lot? Can you speak to that a little bit? BK: Well we do have quite a few customers that come in. We used to, we used to call them the "old-timers" but, some of those have actually passed on. But they would be, they would come in every afternoon, coffee, have a piece of pie. Shoot, years ago there'd even be some that would walk in the back door and start the coffeepot themselves before anybody even, you know any of the employees ever showed up. There's quite a few, use the term "homers" that uh, use the Blue Bonnet. And they call it home too, they're very, they feel very comfortable. KS: I've been asking some questions about the food. What's your favorite thing to eat here at the Blue Bonnet? BK: I would have to say probably the chicken fried steak, gravy. I love the green beans as well. KS: And um, throughout the course of you working here, has the menu changed a lot? Has it always been mostly what it is? BK: The menu, pretty much, overall has changed very little. We've added a few minor items. We used to do a black eyed pea for instance, we went to a mini corn on the cob. We've actually added homemade potatoes with red skins just over the last couple years. Probably one of the first changes that probably I remember is adding a caesar salad. Uh, we've gone to some smoked chicken that we do two days a week, and we do some St.-Louis down smoked ribs on Saturdays. So overall the menu really hasn't changed but, it has evolved a little bit into a little wide spectrum. KS: Sure, and I've actually never been to Marble Falls. This is my first time rolling into the city. And I've noticed that there are kind of a lot of more developments near the river? Is that a new thing? Has any new, kind of like, you know, housing, new businesses, maybe, new buildings-is Marble Falls developing, have you seen any change in your clientele or in the city in the recent years, since you've been working here? BK: Quite a bit. Probably I would say most of the, the things that I've really noticed over time is in the last ten years. Uh, toward the south end of town there's some new development now with the new bridge being built. Uh, couple of developments on the south side of the bridge, uh, with the new county annex about half mile south, you know south of the river. And even now more on the north side. I know you've never been in Marble Falls but, probably just where the main intersection is at 1431 and 281, when we first moved here back in the late 70s and early 80s, you go just about a half a mile and it was basically just kind of farm land almost. So the whole north end of town has developed quite a bit. We had the Walmart Superstore come in, and that was uh, completed in the early 90s. And we've just seen expansion on the north side of town. And uh, not so much really east and west, but you know, we've got a home depot now, office depot, a few other fast-food chains: Wendy's, Church's, and just the other, you know, within the last six months Stripes has opened, a convenience store, on the north end of town. So that's, and there are quite a few developments that are being looked at as possibilities of moving in, single, single family residences, stuff like that, so- [00:05:19] KS: Great, and with that development, do you think that um, the Blue Bonnet Cafe has changed at all to cater to anybody new? Or do you think that throughout your time here it really, the experience of the restaurant is the same even though, because of this development? Have there been any shifts in you know, are you more busy, are you less busy at certain times, anything like that? BK: Well I think just the culmination of just Marble Falls itself growing, it the fact, the Blue Bonnet grows as well. You don't really see much change. We keep the same atmosphere in the Blue Bonnet. It's a Texas café. So, you want to kind of keep that same mantra, you want to keep that same feeling, it makes people feel comfortable. You know, we enjoy what our staff does. To help people come back to the Blue Bonnet Cafe, you know that's what makes us special. Everybody just feels comfortable. Not so much where the city's growing, but you have tended to you know see more business. We did add on part of the restaurant, where we're sitting right now was added on in 2000. So it's twelve years old, so we were able to increase capacity. So, uh, food-wise it hasn't really changed but we've adapted to more people. KS: Sure, great. One thing that seems to be kind of remarkable about this place is, um, first of all how long employees stay, but also how many families, or people that are related to each other that work here. Can you explain that in any way? Do you know why that is? BK: I really don't have any particular reason why that is, but it has worked out. You see a lot of times where family don't tend to work together. But, uh, here at the Blue Bonnet it's worked out rather nice. We've got an aunt niece working in the kitchen. We've got a mother daughter works in the dish station, so that's just a couple of instances, but it has worked out well for the Blue Bonnet. And it's, well-goes back to family. [Laughs] Not literally but it did, it does in this case. KS: Definitely. One thing we've been asking everyone is there any kind of memorable moments you have from working here. Something funny that happened. Something um, crazy that happened here? Can you just think of anything that you might think fondly of? BK: Oh my gosh, it-not really anything in particular. Over eighteen years it's kind of hard to pinpoint. You know we've seen some you know, some stars in here. NFL players, you get to kind of feel kind of special, you know "I got to rub elbows." Pierce Holt, San Francisco 49ers, "The Bus," Jerome Bettis, he's been in. Janine Turner, you can get a little of the idea, you know Mack Brown, the past two governors of the state of Texas. So, you know, things like that. We've had some scary moments here in the Blue Bonnet, too. We've had heart attacks, you know we've had a couple of choking victims, and you know, things like that. You know, as... funny funny? I really I can't put my finger on any single thing. KS: Great. That's alright. I know that the Blue Bonnet has gotten a fair amount of press coverage, it's very well known. Is there anything that you have seen of that coverage, anything that maybe they might miss? Do they concentrate on something that you know, you wouldn't necessarily concentrate on? Is something left out of those stories ever? BK: Well, usually if, if a publication or if a news media will be coming in to do something, usually they are going to be attracted to two different things. One of them is the homemade pie. The high Merengue and topped with the homemade heavy cream as well. And then the other would be, we've been written up a couple of times for our chicken fried steak, and breakfast in general. One of the motorcycle ride Texas Magazine, has-we've been listed in there for top ten breakfast in the state, so you know that's a pretty good one. We've been written up from the Dallas Morning News about chicken fried steak, one of the best in Texas. We've been in Southern Living, in regards to pie, so you know there's usually really three things. The chicken fry, the pies and the breakfast are usually what I see, three things that they really come to for us. KS: If you could write an article about the Blue Bonnet, or about your experience here, what would be the focus of your article? [00:9:51] BK: I would probably start with just the, the longevity of the Blue Bonnet itself, and just the atmosphere that the Blue Bonnet brings. Because I think, you may not have been here before, but you'll remember us and want to come back. Just for the atmosphere and the good food. KS: Great, um, let me see. Is there, if you could describe your servers, is there a typical um, kind of serving style at the Blue Bonnet? BK: Everybody has their own individual serving style. You're not going to, we're not going to promote robotism, if you want to use that as a term, I know that's not a word. But everybody has their own individuality. Whether it's uh, how they hand out plates, how they go to a table. And, and just how they approach the person in general. You know we've got people that have been secretaries. We've got one that used to own a bar. You know so, everybody kind of has their own style. Kind of have their own speed. How they like to set down the plates, how they pick them up. So, you know, you just kind of learn how to work around it, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are and, and apply them to where they can best be used. KS: Great, great. Well, I think that concludes my questions. Is there anything I haven't asked you that you would like to have included in this oral history? BK: Well, not really in particular. But, um, I'd just like to say we've been here for a long time, we'll be here for a long time as well. Just tell everybody to come see the Highland Lakes, the Hill Country, and the Blue Bonnet Cafe right here in Marble Falls, Texas. [END INTERVIEW] [00:11:36]