Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Jimmy's Elgin Cafe is all about community

Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 10/12/2009 4:03 PM

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Name: Jimmy's Elgin Cafe

Owner: Jim Foxwell

Location: 250 Center St., Elgin, Iowa

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Known for: Jimmy's House Specialty, a one-third pound bacon bleu cheeseburger, which comes with fries for $6.95. "Everyone loves it," said Foxwell, who makes his own bleu cheese sauce. "It's delicious."

Contact them at (563) 426-5433

ELGIN, Iowa -- Jimmy's Elgin Cafe serves breakfast and lunch five days a week in the town's former library. The kitchen used to be the fire station.

Foxwell, who owns and refurbished the building, opened Jimmy's in December 2008. He leased the building to several other ventures that didn't work for one reason or another.

He has offered special events during the evening like a Valentine's Day dinner and he prepared two main dishes and dessert for a recent Swiss dinner at the American Legion. He also does holiday parties, and a quilting group, the Questers and the Red Hats meet at the cafe.

"Everyone needs a gathering space," Foxwell said. "It's important to the vitality of the town. We're kind of the sifting mill here for what needs to be done in Elgin."

He adds that he doesn't hear "all the sifting" because he's usually busy cooking. Tuesday through Friday, he and waitress Connie Pfister run the operation. On Saturdays Foxwell's partner, John Cairns, cooks, and Foxwell is out front with customers or taking care of projects he doesn't have time for during the week.

With a second cook on Saturdays, Jimmy's serves omelets ranging from the Classic with two eggs, cheese and onion to the Mexican, which includes eggs, mild taco meat, cheese, salsa and onion. Ham and Cheese, Vegetarian and the Combo, with bacon, sausage, cheese and onion, fill out the menu.

A photo of Foxwell's 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe graces the menu cover and hangs on the wall. The car, which Foxwell calls his mascot, is popular with wedding parties.

"Our theme is old-fashioned food and fun," Foxwell said. "We have down home cooking that's not too fancy."

Jimmy's Caramel Apple Delight, rich apple filling in a pastry purse topped with buttery caramel and whipped cream, is a popular dessert. Pie, ice cream bits and bars round out the treats. Muffins and bagels are served in addition to eggs, hash browns, pancakes, French toast and oatmeal for breakfast.

A variety of beef burgers, grilled chicken, ham and cheese is offered for lunch. Foxwell just added grilled salmon burgers. The healthy lunch includes marinated grilled chicken strips with a side salad and roll. Chili and potato soup are on the daily menu. Often there is another soup as well.

"We can't keep enough of the potato soup made," Foxwell said.

Each day there is a noon special. The hot beef sandwich with potatoes and gravy is a favorite.

Foxwell said he listens to customers and often customizes their orders. If they need to eat healthy, he'll help them do that. He usually serves his soup with a pickle spear, but if people aren't eating the pickle, he'll try something else like carrots.

Foxwell buys all his meat at the grocery store next door.

"In a small town, everyone needs to support each other or we won't be here," Foxwell said.

-- Jean Caspers-Simmet

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