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After a decade, popular Schoolhouse Cafe in Warner shuts down

  • Co-owners Kathy Shifrin and Caleen Fisher inside the Schoolhouse Cafe with customers. —Kathy Shifrin

  • Co-owners Kathy Shifrin and Caleen Fisher stand on the porch of the Schoolhouse Cafe with employees and helpers. Courtesy of Kathy Shifrin

Monitor staff
Published: 4/12/2021 3:45:44 PM

The Schoolhouse Cafe, a popular eatery in Warner, has closed its doors after a decade in business and co-owner Kathy Shifrin said it was sadder than she expected.

“It was very sad to say goodbye to our customers,” Shifrin said after their last day earlier this month. “Much more emotional than we anticipated.”

She said customers expressed an outpouring of love on their last day, a reaction she wasn’t expecting.

In their Facebook announcement of their last day of business on April 3, Shifrin and her sister and co-owner Caleen Fisher said to customers, “We loved being able to serve you, and the friendships that we have made will always have a special place in our hearts.”

Ten years ago, Shifrin and Fisher decided they wanted to renovate the old schoolhouse and start a restaurant there. Renovation itself was quite an effort, requiring plumbing and the installation of a commercial kitchen. “We basically started it from scratch,” Shifrin said.

Now they are in the process of selling off all their restaurant equipment, including tables, chairs, plates and more.

Shifrin and Fisher were not new to the food industry at the time, having run Mink Hills Catering together since 2003. The catering business is still operating, Shifrin said, to anybody who wants to keep eating their food after the closure of the cafe.

The closure of the Cafe is “bittersweet,” Shifrin said. She and her sister planned to sell the business at the end of their ten-year lease on the space because, as they said in their closing announcement, “our lives are going in a different direction.”

The landlord decided that he instead wanted to sell the building and did not want to enter into another lease, according to Shifrin. “We were leaving on one term or another,” she said.

As for what the future holds, besides Mink Hills Catering, she and her sister are unsure of their next steps. The catering business is not a full time job, Shifrin said, so they are both hoping to find something else to do with their time.

For now, the sisters said that running the Schoolhouse Cafe was “a dream come true,” and thanked their employees “who have been so dedicated and have worked so hard to make the cafe special.”

“We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, not only for your business, but also for your friendship,” said the sisters.

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