All in the family
January 29, 2005 - Betty and Marlin Eaves may be gone but their restaurant and recipes live on thanks to their four daughters.
"I know mom and dad are always with us - they're watching over us to make sure we do it right," said Lori Fields, who reopened the restaurant at a different location Jan. 22
For 31 years, the Eaveses ran B & M Cafe on North Linda Road. It was a family operation and Fields started hanging around the place when she was 4 years old.
When they passed away a few years ago, Fields, 37, tried to keep the place going. But the license was not transferable, meaning the rickety old building would have to be brought up to code if she took over - at considerable cost. The restaurant ended up closing.
Fields got a second chance when the Linda Cafe came up for sale.
She called her three sisters with her idea. Sherrie Eaves, Petie Karthauser and Shirley Cauthon pitched in to get the place started in three weeks. They all work at the restaurant.
"I would never have been able to do it without my family," Fields said. "We've always been family owned and operated. I wanted to be sure they would help me."
After a three-year hiatus the restaurant reopened Jan. 22 as B & M Jr.'s. at 5915 Lindhurst Ave., just down the road from the old restaurant. The 47-seat eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner until 7 p.m.
Fields said the first day was a success. The first customer walked in the door at 6:45 a.m. - a man Fields recognized as a regular from the former restaurant. He heard the place was opening from word-of-mouth at the Olivehurst Moose Lodge.
From then on, Fields said the restaurant was full all day. They ran out of 40 pounds of biscuits and gravy around 10 a.m., and sold all their chili by 2 p.m.
"I didn't expect that - I really didn't expect the business we had," Fields said. "I thought it would take a while to get our old customers back."
The chili was one thing Marlin Eaves and the restaurant were known for, said Bill Wagner, a Marysville resident who used to go to B & M Cafe, and who was at the new place Tuesday.
"He made the best chili in the world; they got all kinds of awards for it," Wagner said.
While Fields owns the business, her sister said she has the all-important recipes. Sherrie Eaves said her father kept the special recipes to himself - until he became ill and had to teach her so she could cook them.
"He had certain recipes he would not give out," Eaves said.
Her father perfected his culinary skills as an Army cook at Camp Beale when it was part of the Army Air Corps. But the chili recipe comes from south Texas where Eaves and his wife were born about 100 miles from Mexico. Fields said most of the ingredients have to be obtained from Oklahoma.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.