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If it's 2:30 p.m., it must be time for coffee at Evie's

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 02/05/2013 4:17 PM

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Evie's Soups and More

Address: 48 N. Park Ave., Le Center, Minn.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Specials: Each day there is an entree and sandwich special. The sandwich special comes with choice of potato salad, French fries or soup. The lunch special is $5.75 and the sandwich special is $5.50.

Known for: Homemade soups and breads.

Most popular soup: Chicken and dumpling.

Price of a cup of soup: $2.25; a bowl is $2.75.

Call them at (507) 357-4816

LE CENTER, Minn. — A group of regulars greets Evie Blaschko at her cafe door each morning, all eager for morning coffee and camaraderie.

Blaschko opened Evie's Sept. 3, 1999, after working at Elmer's in Le Center for more than 10 years. She cooked and waitressed there and bought her own place when the cafe came up for sale. She said she thought it was time to try running her own place and the price was reasonable.

"My friend (Dina), she's passed away, she came and helped me," Blaschko said. "I don't know if I'd done it without her."

She's had several friends work for her at the cafe. Angels gifted to her by friends stand on the cafe's counter. Pictures of her three children and five grandchildren also decorate the counter.

Evie's Soups and More is located in a mini-mall in downtown Le Center. A jewelry store is located next door, and an insurance business and a beauty shop is in the back of the mall. The mini-mall is located between two banks.

Bank employees come at break time, with the first arriving at 9:30 a.m. The cafe has seating for 32, including two tables in the mall.

If she could change anything, it would be to increase the seating, Blaschko said, but her customers make do. If a couple comes in and two seats are open at a larger table, they sit down.

The cafe also offers delivery and take-out and does catering. During spring and fall field work, farm families will call in their order and stop by to pick it up, she said. The delivery charge is 50 cents per order.

Blaschko does most everything herself. She has one full time and one part-time employee.

Mornings fly by, with one coffee group followed by another. It's not until 2 p.m. most days that she finds time to sit down and visit with customers. Getting to know her customers is one of her joys.

"I like what I do," she said. "I like the people."

Recently, an older customer, Walter, who would have been 90 on Feb. 12, died. He would come in for food and conversation.

Blaschko strives to make Evie's a homey place where people feel comfortable. She gets to know her regular customers so well that she can put their order on before they place it. As she describes her cafe, it becomes clear that it's kind of like grandma's kitchen, a place you're always welcome and the more the merrier. Even strangers are referred to as 'hon.'

Blaschko makes sure to have lemon meringue pie for the thrift store gals on the first Monday of the month and makes special desserts for the dentist's employees on their birthdays. The lawyer down the street has been after her chicken tortilla recipe for years.

By 2:30 p.m., the café is filled with banter again as people gather for their afternoon break and coffee.

Blaschko may be able to tell what time it is by who's at the cafe, but diners know what day it is by the daily specials.

Monday is meatloaf or "fishwich." Tuesday is lasagna or a turkey, bacon and tomato melt. Wednesday is country fried steak or a Rueben melt. Thursday is roast pork with dumplings or mashed potatoes or a Texas pattie melt. Friday is baked chicken or a turkey and bacon sub.

Three soups are offered each day with the popular chicken and dumpling always on the menue. Other soups include goulash, cheeseburger, ham and cabbage, bean and ham and chicken tortilla.

Her homemade potato salad is also popular.

Blaschko didn't plan to serve breakfast when she opened the cafe, but people requested it so now she serves pancakes, hash browns, American fries — pretty much anything her customers request. She offers a breakfast sandwich with sausage or bacon for $4.

Don't forget the baked goods. She has blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls and cookies every day. Diners are asked to call a day in advance with special pie orders. Every Thursday she serves sour cream raisin pie, which is her most popular dessert. A slice of sour cream raisin pie sells for $2. Lemon meringue and coconut cream pies are also popular.

Blaschko said she may raise her prices after the first of the year, but it won't be by much, she said. Her costs have increased since she last printed her menu.