Aberdeen Institution Reopens
The third installment of the Aberdeen Cafe recently opened on North Sycamore in downtown Aberdeen.
Ben and Rose Ottgen decided to keep the name and feel of Aberdeen Cafe when they took over the restaurant. The location has been home to a diner since the 1970s, Rose said. The previous two were also called Aberdeen Cafe.
"We've had a lot of people come in and tell us they used to eat here when they were kids, or that they remember eating lunch here after church," Rose said. "We wanted to keep the home-style cooking and feel to the place by serving burgers or sandwiches your mother or grandmother would make, but a little more upscale."
The restaurant uses a lot of local produce, and the Ottgens make almost everything from scratch.
They said they pride themselves on being fresh and cooked-to-order, and want to provide their customers with a good value.
"Most of our sandwiches are under $6, and they all come with our hand-cut fries," Rose said.
The restaurant offers an all-day breakfast menu and a kids' menu as well as salads and soups. On Friday and Saturday night, it features an all-you-can-eat fish fry along with another weekend special. In the past, the specials have included ribs and fried chicken. Another weekend offering is the live local music that Aberdeen Cafe brings in.
Rose said she and her husband love their location in downtown Aberdeen.
"During the week, the people working in town and the locals keep us busy," she said. "It's a little slower on weekends when people aren't working in downtown, but it's picking up."
The Ottgens moved to Southern Pines about 18 months ago when Ben accepted a job as a sous-chef at Pine Needles. Previously, they had lived in Michigan in the upper peninsula.
"We've really put down roots here," Rose said.
The Ottgens list the people, weather and being just a couple of hours from both beaches and mountains as their favorite perks of living in the Sandhills.
One of the things the Ottgens brought down from the upper peninsula is the restaurant's signature dish, a Cornish creation called a "pasty," which is popular in Michigan. Rose said it is essentially a pot pie without the tin, with gravy served on top, filled with ground beef, potatoes and carrots.
"We've been getting people to try it, and the next time they come in, they usually order it again," Rose said.
The restaurant offers a pasty punch card for fans who get a free pass after buying five.
The Ottgens also gave the interior of the cafe a makeover, repainting the walls and redecorating. They kept the original tables and chairs. Rose collects vintage sheet music covers from the 1930s, and she framed some from her collection to decorate the walls.
Many of the decorations are train-themed, in honor of the Aberdeen train depot across the street from the cafe.
The Aberdeen Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
The restaurant also offers catering and hosts private events.
Contact Laura Eddy by e-mail at email@example.com.
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