By Elly Murray
The Banner Elk Café had its grand opening of its newest addition, the tavern, this past Saturday. Owners Les and Cindy Broussard invited several people to attend the ribbon cutting, including Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly, North Carolina Senator Deanna Ballard, and a few other important representatives of the high country.
The new addition to the restaurant was celebrated with live music throughout the day, new specialty menu items, select local breweries’ beers on tap, and a kind, welcoming atmosphere.
The idea of the tavern was created to address the problem of too little space. “We often times have line for people waiting to eat with us and didn’t really have a place for them to wait, especially when it was cold outside,” Cindy said. She describes the new area as a place for friends and diners to meet and socialize before sitting down to dinner.
Les says that when a customer comes in and asks if he owns the place, he always responds, “Well, really you own it and I work for y’all.” Les always challenges himself and his employees to make their customers happy, and he says that, “If we were to have one customer leave my restaurant unhappy or displeased, then we failed for the day.”
This sentiment has helped the Banner Elk Café become one of the most popular and friendliest restaurants in the high country, both for citizens and tourists. Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly commented, “Les and Cindy have worked tirelessly to make the café and the lodge beautiful, and now they have put the tavern in there as well, to serve locals and tourists alike. It compliments the town, and we’re very proud of them and all of their civic duties and their civic pride that they have here in Banner Elk.”
Jeff Davis, a member of the Avery Chamber of Commerce, commented, “It’s something for our whole community and county to be proud of. Thank you for taking the time and the resources to do this.”
Deka Tate, the vice president of the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, was very proud of Les’ success, because she had watched Les grow up chasing this dream. She delivered a lovely speech where she said, “Years ago we made a mission statement which Les is aware of, and it is that Banner Elk is a small historical village nestled in the mountains, and it is this sense of place and community that will be preserved through the controlled growth and emphasis on quality of life. And Les has certainly accomplished this outstandingly in my opinion.”
Les, who began this dream 27 years ago, says, “I always wanted to own this whole corner, because I wanted to be here with the beautiful town.” Les was incredibly grateful in his speech, and made sure to thank everyone that had ever helped make this dream possible, including his wife, his family, his friends, his costumers, his employees, the builders, the town council, and the mayor.
He gave a short toast just before they cut the ribbon and said, “I want to thank my family and friends, thank God and everybody else who has come today to share this moment with us. I appreciate all y’all being here, and I love all y’all.”
The Banner Elk Café is located at 324 Shawneehaw Ave S, and the Broussard family and the employees of the Café proudly invite locals and visitors to come enjoy their food and company. For more information, please feel free to call them at (828)-898-4040.
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