Taste the Tradition: Bismarck’s Little Cottage Café spills its secret to success

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We’ve been going around to the oldest restaurants in the area in our newest weekly segment, Taste the Tradition.

We spoke with the owners of the Little Cottage Café to see if they would spill their secret to success.

Since 1962, the Little Cottage Café has been serving the BisMan community.

“We have a small staff. We have very regular customers, we have customers who sometimes come in here two or three times a day. Some of them come three or four, five times a week. I think people like the small hometown atmosphere,” said Wanda Serr.

Robert and Wanda Serr have owned and operated the café for more than 25 years.

“I’m kind of one of those people that just stick with what you’re doing. I don’t like roaming around. If I take something on, I try to do the best I can with it,” said Robert.

“It’s just something about being in the restaurant business. I guess it’s just kind of been in my blood. It’s always been something I wanted to do. So, here I am 33 years later,” said Wanda.

The Serr’s tell us their secret boils down to knowing what their customers want.

“We do what’s right for Bismarck. If we had this operation in Fargo, I would definitely say our menu probably wouldn’t be the same. Maybe the same thing in Minot,” said Robert.

One customer says he’s been coming every week for a couple of decades.

“I think what’s happened with this, is that’s what brings people back. It reminds them of years passed. All the cafes that were in small communities, it brings people together and they have a good time. And the food is excellent. The community knows that this is the place to come. And if you haven’t come here, then you’ve really missed something,” Glenn Bertsch.

The atmosphere of the restaurant takes people back, but what about the future?

“Customers will request and tell us all the time, ‘You should move north. You should expand. You should get a bigger location.’ But you hear of businesses doing that and then it’s just never the same. I think you lose your charm when you make it different,” said Wanda.

When it comes to the Little Cottage Café, sometimes less really is more.

The restaurant plans to continue with tradition, making their food from scratch.

On the menu, you’ll find American food with some German items mixed in.

The café is located at 2513 E Main Ave in Bismarck.

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