The Saratoga Sun -

Cornering the market

New Hanna restaurant, the Corner Cafe, provides to-go and dine-in lunch options

 

Mike Armstrong

The Corner Cafe staff talk with customers that have come to place an order. The restaurant has recently opened in Hanna

Opening a restaurant is a risk at any time. To open during a time when many venues throughout the country are having to close, an owner has to have a lot of confidence in their food and the public.

Laurie Schnabel is doing just that.

Schnabel opened the Corner Cafe on 1007 Jade Drive in Hanna about a month ago and is finding success. Her business model happens to be focused on more of a to-go operation, although there is a dine-in option.

"Opening during COVID hasn't been that stressful because I get a lot of to-go orders and I have people who are willing to space," Schnabel said. "We always wanted to-go to be a big part of the business."

The Corner Cafe is not the only place to get food in Hanna, but all the others are connected to bar operations. Schnabel did not pick Hanna to open her cafe because she would be the first food venue without a bar, though.

"We picked Hanna because we have a ranch outside of town," Schnabel explained. "We have two kids that still have to get through high school, and it is not possible to get them into town during winter time, so my husband and I decided to put a cafe here and my husband will put his business next door."

Schnabel is a Wyoming native and, before coming to Hanna, lived in Cheyenne for the past 18 years. Her husband's business was headquartered in Cheyenne.

Schnabel said opening a restaurant has been a life long goal. She started working in the industry when she was 14 in Red Desert.

"I have always loved this industry," Schnabel said. "This is a dream come true."

Her enthusiasm to bring different dishes to Hanna has to be checked as she gets customers comfortable to what she puts forth now.

"I want to try and offer fried alligator someday in the future," Schnabel said. "I make a lot of German food and, in the future, I will offer that on the menu, too. Right now I have an American style menu with burgers, sandwiches and rotating specials."

Currently, she does Italian night on Mondays and "all you can eat" tacos on Tuesday.

The menu of the Corner Cafe also has breakfast dishes offered all day. Cafe Corner has four omelets available on the menu in addition to creating an original omelet with 17 ingredients to choose from.

Besides the breakfast dishes she offers box lunches to go.

"These are very popular for the workers around Hanna," Schnabel said. "We offer a variety of sandwiches and it is quick."

Getting a quick lunch has not been an easy endeavor in Hanna until Corner Cafe opened.

Before Corner Cafe opened, only one place was open during lunch time, so Corner Cafe is filling a void desperately needed in the town.

Schnabel is also happy with the reception she has received with her homemade desserts. She offers pies, cakes and cheesecake. On the ice cream side, Corner Cafe has shakes, malts and banana splits.

Corner Cafe is an operation that gets most of its products from the grocery store in Hanna.

"I don't use Sysco or any of those large food companies because the Hanna Market works with me for all my needs," Schnabel said. "It is great I get all my product local."

She said when customers first come in and ask what they should try, she recommends either the steakhouse burrito or the ribhouse burrito.

Mike Armstrong

Owner Laurie Schnabel, left, and daughter Lynn get an order ready for pick up.

"They are both great," Schnabel said. "Steakhouse is made with shredded beef, grilled mushrooms and onions marinaded in a steak sauce in burrito with cheddar cheese. The ribhouse is a breakfast burrito with shredded pork simmered in BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and grilled onions. Both are something I created that customers really like."

She said there is delivery in Hanna and Elmo and that customers can call in their dine-in order in advance.

Cafe Corner has 12 employees. Some are part time, but Schnabel is happy to be able to offer jobs in the community.

Schnabel said the Corner Cafe is apolitical.

"We want people to come in and enjoy their food and politics being spoken out loud can ruin that," Schnabel said. "So my recipe is to keep politics out of my restaurant."

Corner Cafe is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

 

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