MAYNARD (WJON News) – Anyone who has lived in West Central Minnesota has likely heard of Budger’s Dinner House.  And, it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve eaten there at least a few times in your life.

The restaurant is only open three nights a week (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), along with some Sundays for special occasions like Mother’s Day and Easter, so the locals know that if you want a good table you need to get there early. A line down the sidewalk on Main Street (Cynthia Street) in Maynard is not all that uncommon.

Earlier this year owners Bill and Lorri Beasley made the decision to close the business that started out as Budger’s Café in 1963 and later transitioned to Budger’s Dinner House.

Photo Courtesy of Maynard History Museum
Photo Courtesy of Maynard History Museum

The business was started by Bill’s parents Pearl and Don “Budger” Beasley who sold it to the second generation in 1980.

The name Budger comes from Don's sister who couldn't say 'brother' growing up and instead called him 'budger'

Photo Courtesy of Mayard Museum
Photo Courtesy of Mayard Museum

Over the years Budger’s has also grown its catering business.  It is safe to say there is rarely an event in the small town of 300 people that isn’t catered by them everything from school events, to weddings,  to funerals.

Bill and Don are the only two cooks the business has ever had over the 60 years.  He says there are no recipes written down anywhere, it's all just in his head.

It’s hard to know the exact number but it’s safe to say that over the past six decades a fairly high number of Maynard High School students got their first ‘real’ job working at Budger’s either in the kitchen washing dishes or waiting tables.  He says they were always lucky with a good group of people working for him over the years.

Photo courtesy of Maynard History Museum
Photo courtesy of Maynard History Museum

Bill describes his wife Lorri's role as the brains of the operation handling the hiring of staff and keeping the books.

The restaurant doesn't have a liquor license and only offers set-ups, which means a stop across the street to the liquor store (Lumpy's) to pick up a bottle to mix your own favorite cocktail.

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The last day Budger’s Dinner House will be open is Saturday, December 31st.  If you want to go and experience it one last time for yourself, note, they don’t take reservations.  But when you get there you can put your name on a list and you can wait across the street at Lumpy's until your table is ready.

They don’t accept credit cards.  And, when it’s time to pay your check you still need to bring it yourself back to the kitchen where Bill does double duty as both the cook and the cashier.

In retirement Bill and Lorri plan on eventually making their way to North Carolina where their three kids and four grandkids all live.

The closing is the end of an era but hopefully not the last chapter.  The building and business are up for sale right now.

He says they do draw from a wide area with people from Spicer, to Benson, to Marshall, and Redwood Falls all making the drive just to go there.

Listen to the full conversation with Bill Beasley below: 

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