Visit Shar'els Café and it's immediately apparent that this is a place where locals come in for great food as much as to gather and talk to their neighbors. Whether they are here to enjoy a stack of buttermilk pancakes, one of the restaurant's famous breakfast skillets or the daily special, such as Swedish meatballs and homemade gravy, customers often get up from their tables to visit with others as well as the friendly staff.
Located in Oakdale, Minnesota, Shar'els is owned by husband and wife team Jon and Sharon Buersken, who take great pride in serving the many familiar faces who come in day in and day out.
"We've been blessed, we have a lot of regulars who are like family to us," said Sharon. "We are not just a café, we are part of this community."
Jon adds that some customers stop in every week, some come in every single day, and some visit for breakfast and lunch in the same day. "We've had customers say 'don't ever go anywhere' and that means a lot to us."
Shar'els, a part of the community for more than 22 years, was started by the couple when they noticed there wasn't a good breakfast place in their own neighborhood. Both had worked in the restaurant business since they were teenagers and even met at a restaurant. When the opportunity to open a restaurant near where they were living arose, Jon and Sharon jumped on it and opened Shar'els.
Today the café is a bustling place throughout its daily breakfast and lunch service, with customers looking for home-style cooking and most menu items made from scratch. For instance, the staff comes in early each day to prep the potatoes that serve as the base for the breakfast skillets-one of the most popular menu items that results in the restaurant going through 150 pounds of potatoes a week.
"We put a lot of hard work and love into our cooking and our customers appreciate this," said Sharon, who adds that is it also the many comfort foods on the menu-soups, salads, sandwiches and hearty breakfasts-that keep their customers coming back for more.
General Mills is proud to play a role in helping bring one of Shar'els' comfort foods to the table. For the past 15 years, the restaurant has used Gold Medal™ Buttermilk Pancake Mix as the foundation for several varieties of its pancakes served on a daily basis.
Sharon says the mix offers a convenient way to make pancakes quickly and keep up with the pace in the busy kitchen. Jon adds that you can't beat the consistency and quality of the pancake mix, which would be hard to replicate. They also appreciate the ability to add their own special touch to the pancakes, creating signature versions such as Caramel Apple, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Strawberry and M&M pancakes.
"Shar'els Café goes the extra mile to put special care into each and every menu item," said Steve Martel, account executive at General Mills Foodservice. "From their delicious dishes made with love to the welcoming and friendly environment they have created for their customers, it's clear Jon and Sharon have created the recipe for success."
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