After spending their vacations in beautiful Lanesboro, Minn., each year and not wanting to leave when it was time to go, Alan and Elizabeth (“Liz”) Mason are finally “Home Sweet Home” in every sense of the phrase, especially with the launch of their new business, Home Sweet Home Cafe and Cakery in Lanesboro.
The Mason family, which includes Alan and Liz, along with their children, Gregory, 20, and Emily, 12, are dear friends with the Kevin and Holly Rissman family, who purchased Root River Outfitters in Lanesboro last year.
The Rissmans are like family, states Liz, explaining, “We used to come up here and we loved it,” and when it was time to go back home to Hedville, Kans., they had mixed feelings because “we loved it up here,” she says.
They had strong connections in Kansas with close friends and rewarding careers; Liz with her business, Liz’s Cakes, and Alan who performed airport fire and rescue and was prominent in the Hedville Fire Department, but they really loved the Fillmore County area and being close to the Rissman family as well.
Last summer when they were preparing to come to Lanesboro on vacation, the Rissmans informed them they had bought Root River Outfitters and would not have a lot of free time to spend with them as they were immersed in their new business.
The Masons came anyway and spent much of their vacation helping the Rissmans at Root River Outfitters. When it was time to leave, as usual, the Masons were not ready to go.
That is when Holly spoke up and said, “The restaurant down the street is for sale,” explains Liz. Alan and Liz looked at each other and Alan said, “Don’t even look at me unless you mean it,” to which Liz replied, “Who said I didn’t mean it?” and that got the ball rolling on their new venture.
They did a walkthrough of the building and thought, “It’s now or never,” explains Liz. They purchased the building at 210 Parkway Ave. N., formerly Intermission, on November 15, 2017, and were anxious to get to work renovating the space for their cafe and cakery.
“We left Kansas on Thanksgiving night and got to Lanesboro on Friday, unloaded the truck on Saturday, and started working on the restaurant on Tuesday,” says Liz. “It had been sitting empty for a year,” she notes, saying there were murals on the wall that were dark colors and the ceilings and walls were dark colors so they really wanted to brighten up the space.
They painted, replaced light fixtures, brought in display cases and much more to have everything ready for opening day.
Home Sweet Home Cafe and Cakery opened on January 1, 2018, to the delight of many new customers.
Liz describes the menu at the restaurant as home cooking saying, ”It’s difficult to go and find someplace where you feel like you may not have wanted to cook, but you want something that’s good,” and tastes homemade.
The breakfast buffet features your favorites such as scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, and many others while the lunch buffet features daily specials.
“We are all about options,” states Liz, not only with menu options, but the buffet features your choice of a small plate (one trip), a large plate (one trip) or a large plate all you care to eat, with each priced accordingly. Customers who don’t have time to sit down for a meal are welcome to stop in and fill a to-go container from the buffet which is charged by the pound.
Daily lunch specials include Monday: Mixed Up Monday (whatever they want to serve), Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (Mexican buffet, make your own tacos and more), Wednesday: Western Wednesday (Southern cuisine such as pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and more), Thursday: closed, Friday: featuring fish, with at least one other option available, Saturday: Soup, Salads and Sandwich Day, and Sunday features brunch.
Although the breakfast buffet runs from 6 a.m. until approximately 10:30 a.m., when there is a switch over to the lunch buffet, Liz says, “I will still cook to order,” saying a customer came in at 1:30 in the afternoon and wanted eggs, “so I made her eggs; it’s no big deal,” she states.
When it comes to Liz’s cakery and bakery items the sky is the limit. Whether ordering a brownie or slice of pie or cheesecake in the ever-changing dessert cases in the restaurant or ordering a birthday, anniversary or wedding cake or cupcakes, Liz says, “If it’s baked I can do it,” as she has been making and decorating cakes for over 30 years.
“I started doing cakes right out of high school,” says Liz, and has been cooking since she was young. “You become immersed and if you are passionate about something you want to learn everything you can about it,” she comments.
Liz also prepares gift baskets which start at $10, cookie bouquets, cookies by the dozen and during the holidays makes beautiful gingerbread houses.
Although Liz creates amazing treats with sugar, she says people are becoming more diet aware and although the family did not eat a lot of sweets prior, they are even more aware of their overall health since Emily was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of 2017.
Liz offers many low carb options including bread, desserts and even pancakes. “I can offer low carb pancakes where they are like a fourth of the carb count — you can have a stack of pancakes, even with real maple syrup, for less than 15 carbs, and they taste good,” she states.
She also has a paleo brownie that is low carb with no sugar and no flour and is made with dates and 100% chocolate. Gluten free items are available as well including cakes, cupcakes and more.
Opening day of Home Sweet Home Cafe and Cakery went very, very well, states Liz, saying the community has been very supportive. “We are just overwhelmed with all the support,” she notes, not only from Lanesboro residents and business owners but area residents as well.
There are some big plans in store for the future, as Alan and Liz plan to add on a wrap-around deck to the north side of the building as Liz states, “Outdoor eating here is big,” and they have come up with a fantastic idea to add outdoor seating to their business.
The couple also plans to eliminate a rental unit in the upper floor of the building to create more space for their family, as the current two apartments will become large living quarters.
Home Sweet Home Cafe and Cakery welcome any comments or suggestions from local residents as to what they would like to see offered at the restaurant. The owners are contemplating a delivery service within city limits and would like some feedback on the idea.
Winter hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch only). For more information phone (507) 467-2244, visit lizscakes.com or take a look at their facebook page at facebook.com/Home-Sweet-Home-Café-Cakery-wwwlizscakes.com.