Bracken Cafe flooded with customers after closing announced

Owner says she's now thinking of finding a new location

BRACKEN, Texas – Customers swamped Bracken Café Thursday after word spread that the café will be shutting down on Dec.13 because of a lease dispute after 26 years in business.

Longtime customer Ron Prothro and his group occupied a back table during the Thursday lunch rush.

"This is a great place because they make the best burgers ever," Prothro said. "I've been coming out here since '91."

He said he even has a burger named after him.

"They say, 'Do you want a Ron burger?' And there it is," Prothro said. "And that's both cheeses, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion and toasted buns."

Wade Jordan said the café also occupies a special place in his heart.

"My wife and I met here," Jordan said. "I mean, we used to come here when we were dating."

But he admits he also comes here for the half-pound burgers.

"They're nap burgers," Jordan said. "You eat it, you take a nap."

Owner Linda Waggoner said many people come there for the atmosphere.

"When you come in here, you're at home," Waggoner said. "You can sit back and you can relax."

Will Held comes because of the friendly workers.

"I think it's the hospitality and the friendliness," Held said. "The clients, the customers, it's pretty much everybody knows each other. It's really a nice place. We've been coming here for about 12 years."

After seeing today's response, Waggoner struggled to hold back tears.

"I am just overwhelmed," Waggoner said. "It's just amazing. People have been coming in here for years. They're here to support me, they know how I am, they know I've been here 26 years and it's just amazing."

And she hinted that because of the overwhelming customer response, she may not be done after all.

"I was still unsure if I even wanted to do it after so many years and then figured it was time to retire and get out of the business. I can't. It's just too much," Waggoner said.

She hopes to find a new location soon.

Waggoner sent a message out to customers on behalf of the Bracken Café staff, thanking them for their support over the years. 

The message reads in part: 

"It is with deep regret and sadness that I must inform you the Bracken Store Café will close for business after Dec. 13, 2014. Our landlord, Bill Wetz, and I are unable to come to a mutual lease agreement. I would like to thank all of our customers over the last 26 years for the loyalty and patronage they have extended to me and my staff. Over the years, many of our customers have become more like family and the thought of this ending is devastating for my staff and me. It is my hope that I will be able to find another location and reopen at a future date."

She encouraged customers to contact her by email at brackenstorecafe@gmail.com, saying she will respond to everyone with the restaurant's new location.