History

Shawnee Frischknecht reflects on the history of Mom’s Café in Salina Monday afternoon. Frischknecht has owned the café since June 2013.

SALINA — For years, the tagline at Mom’s Café has been, “World Famous.”

This month, the eatery became a little more famous.

“We got a call from Rachael Ray’s magazine and one of the people that works for them stopped in here for breakfast,” said Shawnee Frischknecht, who acquired the café in June 2013. “She had one of our scones and loved it.”

As a result, the March 2014 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray named Mom’s Café as the best place to eat breakfast in Utah. The issue lists the staff picks for the best places to eat breakfast in all 50 states.

It isn’t the first time the café has been featured in the national spotlight. The restaurant was part of an article in National Geographic magazine as well as other publications in years past.

When Frischknecht had the opportunity to purchase Mom’s, she knew it would be challenging. However, with the challenge came a labor of love, Frischknecht said.

“I grew up here,” Frischknecht said. When she was 15 years old, she got a job at Mom’s working for Carolyn Jensen. She started out washing dishes, and eventually began to think of the diner as a second family.

“I want it to be the way it was and to keep it going,” Frischknecht said. Not a franchise or a chain, Mom’s is still about homegrown cooking and giving people the local flavor, Frischknecht said.

Frischknecht is versed in the long history of Mom’s. The building it occupies was started off as a co-op in 1879. The building housed several different establishments, including a movie theater, a dance hall and even a bordello, Frischknecht said.

In 1926, the ground floor of the building was converted to Mom’s Café.

While the call from Rachael Ray magazine was a bit of a surprise to Frischknecht, it was nothing new to waitress Kathryn Edwards.

“People come in from Massachusetts to California,” Edwards said. “We’re famous.”

Edwards has been a waitress at the diner for approximately 25 years, but affiliation with Mom’s came long before she strapped on an apron and started writing down orders.

“I learned how to drink coffee right over there,” Edwards said, pointing to one of the booths.

Edwards said the restaurant has been host to many celebrities, including Robert Redford, Ashley Judd and the cast of “Operation Repo.”

“We even had Buddy Hackett in the back making his own breakfast,” Edwards said. “We just give them their privacy and treat them like everyone else.”

Frischknecht has also served famous people at Mom’s, including rock star Jon Bon Jovi.

While Frischknecht said she wants to maintain the historic nature of the restaurant, she has made improvements, including a new floor.

“We’re getting ready for summer,” Frischknecht said. She said while Mom’s enjoys a dedicated local base of customers, it’s the summer tourism season when things start hopping.

When Frischknecht purchased the diner, she knew that that would make her the new “mom.”

“Usually, I think of an older lady with glasses when I think of mom,” Frischknecht said. “I love it here.”

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