Decisions can be tough, and we’ve made a big one.

1 Aug
Recently my parents shared some exciting (and some what surprising news with me), they will close their restaurant in August to pursue a culinary adventure of a dfiferent sort.  I know this has not been an easy decision for them to make.  I’m really glad I was able to work for them before I moved to England.  What follows is my mom, Deanne’s , attempt to explain this big change…

This past week we announced a new direction for our business. It was important to us that we first shared the news with our employees.  After that we shared the news with our loyal customers.  We know that this announcement might seemed unexpected and sudden, but I hopefully I’m able to communicate the reasons and hopes behind our change.

A photo of us closing the doorFirst the logistics:

  • We will close the doors to restaurant part of Solar Drive-In for re-invention and innovation on Sunday, August 19th at 9:00 PM. (Find the official press release here.)
  • We will offer cooking classes this fall at our location and perhaps be open from time to time for special public or private events.

We admit it might look we are giving up a lot to close the doors of a successful business and there is probably is some truth to this assessment. We are giving up the opportunity to serve our community the fresh fast food that we’re all attached to. It’s been great fun and a big adventure to buy an old drive-in, renovate it, create new menu items and become a place where friends and family can gather.  A big part of us likes that we created a fry sauce that people crave and that we’ve served loads of summer-time ice cream cones (ice cream brings a smile to everyone’s face). :) We have many fond memories of running Solar since we opened in 2008.

But to be honest, we don’t feel great about being a business that serves usually-unhealthy foods to our community (FarmerChef creations being the exception).  As a nation, we consume more calories than we should; all of us, even the skinny ones who appear to be in shape, could significantly tune up our diets.

If this resonates with you or you want to try to understand where we’re coming from, here’s an article by a speaker I heard speak many years ago at an educational conference.  This quote from the article does a good job summarizing our thoughts, “one of the hardest things for people to avoid is the standard American diet. It’s high calorie, low nutrition, filled with bad fat, lots of salt and sugar.”

Recently we  personally reached the point where we want  to align our values of leading a healthy lifestyle with our business.  Right now, we sell the standard American diet and we want to change, but we’re unsure about making a living in a small town offering a menu that veers away from what people expect and want.  Given the circumstances and our values we decided to make a big change.

So what is next for us? We don’t know for sure.  We plan to get creative, have fun and be healthy.  I’m sure our next business adventure will involve some sort of culinary pursuit since Steve is a master creator of good things. We’re interested in figuring out a way to produce yummy tasty products for the food sensitive among us (gluten-free, dairy free, etc.) So stay tuned!  We’ll continue to share recipes, thoughts of food, etc. on this blog, we’ll just no longer have a 11:00-9:00 restaurant to run.

As the sun goes down on this chapter of  our business life, we are certain that it will rise again as we figure out how to create a business that will sustain both our values and our livelihood.

A photo of the sunset from the Solar Drive-in


10 Responses to “Decisions can be tough, and we’ve made a big one.”

  1. Clarice Platz August 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Very proud to say that I know you and I wish you the very best as you turn the page and begin a new chapter… Enjoy the journey…. God Bless!!

    • realocalcooking August 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Thanks Clarice, You have been so supportive of all our ventures, breakfast, cooking classes, meal prep, we really appreciate it.

  2. Susan August 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Lots of luck to you and your new adventures! We wish we could have gotten to the Solar Drive Inn (a bit of a drive from Idaho) but now we will have to visit your new venue. …all the best!

    • realocalcooking August 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Susan, now that we have a little more free time perhaps we will come see you and Don! A road trip would be nice.

  3. Julie August 2, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I am sad to hear the Solar is closing, I will miss visiting when we are in the area. Sounds like a great new chapter in your lives. Best of luck and I will look forward to following along.

  4. realocalcooking August 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Julie….maybe you’ll have to schedule a trip when we have cooking class. Or you can come by the farmer’s market on Saturdays. We still plan to do that as long as the farmers have produce to sell. Thanks for your good wishes.

  5. Terri at Time To Be Inspired August 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Sounds like an exciting and scary adventure. Good luck!

    • realocalcooking August 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks! We’re betting it will be interesting if nothing else! :)

  6. Rachel@hammeringourwayhome August 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Wow, what a huge decision. Wishing you guys the best of luck in your new adventure. It’s really inspiring what you’re doing, taking a chance because it was feels right. I love the passion behind what you guys do.

    • realocalcooking August 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks Rachel. We are super excited and really feel like things are falling into place because our actions will more closely match our values.

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