“Now there’s a place you out to go check out, Kristy. It’s a bit of Americana, right here in Okanogan.” Lonnie Good was talking about what inspired him to write the next song they were going to play, called The Livestock Cafe. To get a feel of the song and the cafe itself, I suggest you watch the slide show (below) as you play the video (below).
The song was so fun to listen to that I decided to go the next day. Lonnie told me he wrote about the reality of the Livestock Cafe and I had no doubts. I grew up in a small town in rural Wisconsin. I’ve also been drawn to them – the community, land, the diners, little pockets of arts & culture, and the secret places that only the locals know about – it’s what attracts many of us to fall in love with Small Towns, USA.
Lonnie told me they had the best burgers and I’d need to try one. My heart (kinda) sank. “I’m a vegetarian. Actually, I’m trying to be a vegetarian and I haven’t had meat or sugar for three weeks now.” I added, “But, I am the worst vegetarian…” This has been my standard line for five years now, that I’m the worst because I do love burgers, steaks, and bacon.
Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well (hmm….), canceled my yoga session, got dressed, and went to the Livestock Cafe to take photos and get the feel of it. The parking lot was full of pick-up trucks, so I had to park by the stockyard. The cafe is actually in the building with the stockyard behind it. Years ago the cafe was only open on Thursdays, during trade (?). The owner, Juanita opens the cafe six days a week, serving breakfast and lunch.
When I went inside it was busy. Men were playing penuchle, just as Lonnie sings it in his song, there were a couple people at the counter, and Toni the waitress approached me with, “You’re just taking photos?” I told her that I heard about the cafe from a song and needed to check it out, eat lunch, and write about it on my blog.
“Livestock Cafe” – original by Lonnie Good. A little bit of Americana…
After I took some photos, I sat at the counter by Bob, a man who moved to the area about 12 years ago, from Seattle. I told him how much I was loving the Omak-Okanogan area and he started to list off places to go and people to see. There’s so much to do and see – I might have to move here!
I told Toni I was a vegetarian-ish person as I opened the menu. She told Juanita (or announced it loudly across the dining room), who was cooking, that I was a vegetarian. This caught the attention of the men playing penuchle, so I tried to explain that I’m The Worst Vegetarian, which means that sometimes I eat meat. I ordered the Livestock Burger with fresh, hand-cut fries. This burgers is described as being a 5″ burger with American and Swiss cheese, ham, bacon, lettuce, and tomato and is only $7.50. It’s served on a toasted bun and I must say – it was yummy!
One man playing cards looked over and asked if I ate my side of beef. I did – all but a tiny piece. There was a small bucket of licorice on the counter so I ate a few pieces after the burger. Why not? Three weeks without sugar or red meat – might as well go all out.
The Livestock Cafe is open Monday – Friday, 7 am – 2 pm, serving breakfast all day. If you are lucky enough to be “in” with the locals, you might be able to get there at 6 am for coffee. Apparently they have their own key. Juanita is also open on Saturdays, 7 am – 12 noon – breakfast only. I highly recommend the burger. Also, another classic for the small town diners – she has Cinnamon Rolls. You know, those extremely large ones? Bob told me they are the best.
It brings back memories that make me miss places back home in Sauk City/Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin – Young’s Cafe, The Penguin (yes, I miss it!), The Swiss Style, and Eagle Inn.
The video was done during a practice session for live music at the Salmon Creek Coffee Company in Okanogan. Lonnie and Teresa Good will be playing there with Bubba and Drew on February 16, 6-7 pm. No cover charge. Get there early – it seems to be the night to go out in the Okanogan Valley as it’s usually standing room only!