MORNING GLORY CAFÉ RISES AGAIN
Apparently, you can’t keep a good restaurant down. When Patty Groth announced last November that she was shutting down her popular restaurant, Morning Glory Café, due to Covid fatigue, it sent shock waves through the Ashland community. Then, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, Dave and Marge Bernard gave Patty a call, offering to buy the building and re-start Morning Glory Café. She readily agreed.
“We had both started to settle into an early retirement when we heard Patty was closing Morning Glory,” said Dave, who recently retired from Darex Corporation, which he founded along with his father 50 years ago. “We hated the idea of the town losing yet another iconic restaurant, so we looked at each other and thought, ‘we could do this.’ A week later we had begun the process of purchasing it.”
Not only that but Patty provided them with all of her recipes, and the menu will hardly change. The Bernards also contacted a lot of the former employees and many of them, including most of the kitchen staff, have agreed to come back.
“It will be the same experience that people have come to expect for the last 24 years,” Marge said. “Most of our family and friends think we are crazy to take this on, but we were able to hire back the core cook staff so the menu is the same, cooked by the same folks.”
Marge worked as a registered nurse in the valley until she retired a few years ago. She and Dave have been married for 42 years, and they moved to Ashland just one week after getting married, happy to be in a small town in which to raise their family.
Dave co-founded Darex Corporation with his father Dick near Chicago.
“Darex stands for Dave, Arthur (my grandfather), Richard (my dad), and ex was a popular ending for a company name 50 years ago when we founded,” Dave said. “I worked with my dad until he retired, then our oldest son Matthew rose through the ranks and took over the top spot at Darex several years back.”
The Bernards do have a connection in the restaurant industry.
“Our youngest son Chad moved to Portland a few years ago and purchased a small restaurant, now called Frog and Snail,” Marge said. “We went up to help Chad get started with that endeavor. We went back up to help him through the first couple months of Covid lockdowns. It was through helping Chad that we got a taste for the restaurant world.”
But what a time to start a restaurant, right? The Bernards officially opened in February when Ashland was on Extreme Alert with the Covid crisis. All they could do was provide curbside takeout and delivery, but they figured that would give them a chance for some mellow on-the-job training. Now that things have reopened a little bit, they’re accepting indoor diners, albeit at 25% capacity.
“We would like to give a shout out to Patty Groth who for 24 years put her heart and soul, creativity and perseverance to create one of the most beloved restaurants in Ashland,” Dave said. “As far as we’re concerned, unique is Morning Glory’s middle name.”
Morning Glory Café is located at 1149 Siskiyou Boulevard. They can be reached at 541-482-2017 for takeout and delivery. You can also see them at mornnggloryashland.com and on Facebook and Instagram.