RICE - This week in our Home Town Spotlight Series we travel to Rice and grab a bite to eat at the Old Creamery Cafe.

Before it was the restaurant as we know it today, the building operated as the areas co-op.

"This site was the major creamery for places like St. Stephen, Pierz in this area even though it was a very small building," says Larson.

By 1982 the creamery stopped operations at the site, and moved across the railroad tracks. Owner Mark Larson says at that time the building was renovated into the creamery center.

"Originally there was cafe, laundromat, a car wash and an ice cream shop. So between the car wash and the laundromat they were an important part in keeping this building here," says Larson.

The restaurant was originally called the Rice Cafe, it wasn't until Larson took over the business in 1984 he decided to change the name.

"Everybody you talked to would talk about this place being the creamery, so I said the cafe should really be called the old creamery," says Larson.

By 1998-2008 Larson closed both the car wash and the laundromat to make room for more dining space for the restaurant.

In 2012 there was even talk of a possible sale of the business to Casey's once the new highway overpass was built.

"They said they wanted to meet with me about buying me out. They had blueprints with my building gone. I said no way I'm not going to let you tear this building down I put too much time and money into the existing building," says Larson.

Today the old creamery still offers the same historic feel in a technological world. When asked about his success Larson says it's the people which play the biggest factor.

(Photo: Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)
(Photo: Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)