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Recipe for Rebuilding: Dodge Center's Only Cafe Reopens

October 09, 2018 07:42 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Small businesses can lift up an entire community. After sitting empty for nearly 2 years, Dodge Center's only cafe has reopened and reenergized the city's main street. But the Pure Country Cafe's history is a complicated one.

Kevin Nawrocki opened the café in 2013. He admits he’s had a rocky past. “I have been in trouble most of my life. I grew up on the streets in Detroit and I am sure a lot of people wrote me off years ago.”

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But Kevin says he turned his life around and was on a good path … only “to throw it away in a few minutes”.

On September 28th, 2015, Kevin broke into the Mill St. café in Brownsdale (a 20-minute drive south from his own Café). Once inside, he stole some cash.

“Some people would say ‘God Kevin if we would have known you had money problems we would have passed the hat around for you’,” said Kevin. “And I said ‘It had nothing to do with money’ and people say ‘Well why did you do it?’ ‘Just self-destructed’.”

In 2017, Kevin was convicted of the felony. He served 11 months in prison. “It broke my heart to close it,” he said. “I didn't know what I was until I got in trouble. Just a restaurant … until I got in trouble and then 'Oh My God, main street is empty' I'm hearing.”

Kevin says he spent his time behind bars regretting his mistake, as well as thinking up new menu items.

“He did a stupid thing and he has paid for his crime,” said Melanie Dobson, the Co-owner and Managing Editor of Community News Corp. “It’s really cool how the community has forgiven him and is ready to move on.”

Pure Country Cafe has been open about a month and averages about 100 customers a day. Kevin says he has a new lease on life and is so grateful to everyone who supported him through thick and thin.

“I love them all, they are very loyal,” said Kevin. “Won’t let ‘em down again.”

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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