BROOKINGS – Valley Restaurant & Catering, a local landmark on the east edge of Volga on Caspian Avenue off U.S. Highway 14, is open for business under new owners Justin and Christina Wiemer.
For now they offer curbside carry-out service only, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. However, the Elkton couple anticipates returning to full-scale service when coronavirus pandemic restrictions are lifted and they’ve completed some remodeling.
The Wiemers took over ownership on April 1 and opened for business on April 27. She had worked at Nick’s Hamburger Shop for about 10 years before she and her husband decided it was time to open their own restaurant. He still works at Bel Brands and works with his wife three to four days a week.
“I did a survey and saw what people wanted to keep, and then I added some of my own things as well,” Christina said of the Valley’s bill of fare. “So we have some different burgers on there, some different sandwiches.
“Right now we have a limited menu, for things to go. When we go back to dine-in, I’ll have a much larger menu.”
And what about “a signature dish?”
“One of our signatures that we have right now is our fresh-cut curly fries,” she said. “We call them ‘Valley fries.’ It’s a full potato; we have a device that we create them with. It’s a signature side with all of our sandwiches.”
And she prides herself on the Valley’s food preparation.
“Everything is made from scratch. We don’t use anything out of a box or pre-mixed. Our patties are made by hand all the way to our Alfredo sauce being made fresh daily.”
At a time when the nation lives and works and shelters in place under the shadow of the coronavirus epidemic, the Wiemers were not deterred from striking out on a new venture.
“Owning my own restaurant has been my lifelong dream,” Christina said. “So when the opportunity arose as a deal, we just couldn’t pass it up. We’re putting a lot of our blood, sweat and tears into it at this point.
“We’re looking at remodeling. We are going to keep the kitchen open for to-go orders but remodel out here in the dining area. So we might not open up when most places do because of that. I’d like to get all that done. We don’t want to have to close down in the future,” she said.
Christina sees a hint of providence in the new venture that she and Justin are undertaking.
“I think God puts everything in your path at the right time. It was something that we could not pass up.” Laughing, she admits that it was a “leap of faith – completely.”
The Valley staff had a total of eight people, but now it’s down to herself and two servers taking and filling orders. However, those no longer working can return in the future if they want to.
Christina admits that for now she is working and cooking about 14 hours a day and “could use a couple more cooks. Another cook would be wonderful.”
Queries are welcome. Give her a call at 627-5900 and “she’ll get them an application and an interview.”
Christina is a Brookings native and went through middle school here. She later moved to Pierre and graduated from high school there before returning to Brookings.
“I came back to SDSU for college,” she said but admits she’s not a grad. Laughing, she added, “So I am a lifer, evidently. I went back a couple times and have quite a few classes and credits under my belt.”
Justin is originally from Elkton. The couple have been married 10 years and have a 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son.
For now the Valley is serving about 25 to 75 curbside customers daily.
“You just order over the phone; call 627-5900 for an order. You give a time to pick it up. Most orders take 15 to 20 minutes depending on busy we are because everything is made from scratch.
“Pull up on the south side of our building, give us your car description when we take your order, and we will bring you your food.
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]