New owners, new program

It’s only been a few years since David and Heather Barker opened their cafe, the Barley Bin, in Osnabrock. Now the Barkers will be offering a new service to better assist the older residents in the community and expanding their business portfolio by purchasing the Munich cafe and bowling alley.

Posted 3/28/19

By Melissa Anderson

The Barkers will be making the Barley Bin a Cafe 60 location where those over 60 will be able to have a nutritious and delicious meal served when using a voucher. The Barley Bin has been working with Cavalier County Senior Meals and Carrie Mikkelsen to bring the outlying senior residents of Cavalier County the ability to get at least one good meal.

“Seniors in the area probably don’t eat exactly the way they should. My own grandmother only ate toast cause that’s all she felt like making,” Heather Barker said. “We know that we are in a rural location, and the community is mostly 60 and above. Carrie called  and said there was a new program called Cafe 60.”

There is a specific menu for the Cafe 60 program that has been approved by Mikkelsen and a nutritionist at the state level. The Barkers have worked hard to craft a menu that meets the nutritional guidelines for seniors while still providing them with a tasty meal.

“It’s not bland food. It’s country fried steak, patty melts, meatloaf- it’s good things,” Barker shared.

One aspect of the Cafe 60 program that the Barkers really want to stress is that this program is donation-based. The suggested donation amount is $5.50, but with the reality being that some may not be able to pay that much everyday, Barker said that giving as much as possible is accepted. The purpose of the program is not to make money but rather to provide seniors with the chance to eat better and also get them out of their homes and socializing. By making the program donation-based, even community and family members can encourage elders to go out by purchasing vouchers for them.

“Like my grandma, she wants to go out. I can donate and get the vouchers for her and then she can come out and eat at the cafe,” Barker explained.

There is also the issue of those that are home-bound and unable to make the trip to the cafe. The Barkers are going to be offering home delivery of the Cafe 60 menu to those who cannot come to the restaurant. Vouchers for the program will be available at the Barker’s restaurants in Osnabrock and Munich. Carrie Mikkelsen will also have vouchers available at the Cavalier County Senior Meals in Langdon.

It is because of the Cafe 60 program that the Barkers have now acquired the cafe and bowling alley in Munich. During the initial conversation with Mikkelsen on starting the program in Osnabrock, Mikkelsen mentioned that there was no location for the program in Munich as the cafe there had recently closed. Following the revelation, the Barkers soon found themselves with the keys to the Munich cafe and bowling alley.

“Honestly, it was kind of a combination package. It was kind of awful because there are people who could really benefit from Cafe 60 [ in Munich],” Barker said.

“Our decision was made because of the Cafe 60 program. It’s a great opportunity to have the cafe and open the bowling alley for the full year rather than the five months it has been open.”

The Barkers are now the proud owners of both the Barley Bin in Osnabrock and the newly christened Villa Cafe and Bowling in Munich. The first order of business at the Villa Cafe will be to bring the Cafe 60 program to the area residents 60 and older. Other changes to the menu will be smaller but will have a large impact as the Barkers serve a buffet every day to the people of Munich. A special menu will be served at night for the bowling alley. Those items are more kid-friendly and more like appetizers like pizza, chicken strips, burger basket, and popcorn shrimp. Food that is a quick, five minute thing.

On the bowling side, the Barkers plan to liven things up by keeping the alley running year-long with special leagues for everyone in the whole family.  The bowling will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and  Thursday. The first week of May is going to out-of-this-world for bowlers when cosmic bowling will begin on Friday nights.

“We are doing a kids league open to anyone who can get the concept of bowling. If it is a family who wants to come in with small kids, absolutely. We are going to start a kids league with kids anywhere from the ages of 4 to 17. We will have another men’s league and women’s league and even a family league,” Barker shared.

Barker explained that the family league will be a family versus family, with a family being whatever is deemed a family by those who participate. The main goal is for everyone to just have fun.

“A family is however you feel your family is. A mom and kid, a grandma, grandpa and kid. It could be a mom and two kids or a dad and three kids. That’s your family and you are welcome to come. There are plenty of people out there raising kids by themselves, and they are welcome to come,” Barker said.

With so many plans for the new venture at the Villa Cafe and Bowling, the Barkers have already been bombarded with questions on how they will operate two businesses in two different towns separated by nearly 40 miles. The Barkers moved to Osnabrock last summer and have already created a plan to keep the Barley Bin running smoothly and get the Villa up and running.

“A student at Munich High School has already applied for the Munich location, and a friend has been hired at Osnabrock. David and I will go back and forth between the locations, taking turns at both locations,” Barker explained. “We are nervous and happy at the same time.”

For those interested in purchasing vouchers for the Cafe 60 program, they can be purchased at the Barley Bin in Osnabrock, Villa Cafe and Bowling in Munich, or at the Cavalier County Senior Meals in Langdon. For questions or more information please call either Heather Barker at 701-317-4390 or Carrie Mikkelsen in Langdon at 256-2828.

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