Family to carry on 50-year tradition
Ryan Makovec and Dani Hatfield Makovec are old hands at working at Al’s Café in Lost Springs.
Ryan worked side by side with his grandmother, Delora Alvarez, until her death in January 2020. Dani worked there during and after high school for a while.
They have been together for 19 years and now are planning to re-open the popular Mexican restaurant after it’s been closed for more than two years.
“The café has been a big part of our lives, a big part of the Alvarez family, and a big part of the community,” Dani said. “We wanted to keep it going.”
The couple has experience running an eating establishment. They spent the past four years managing Norton Brewing Co., a restaurant in Wichita.
“Ryan managed the kitchen, and I worked out front,” Dani said. “I know how to build menus and hire and train people. Ryan knows how to order food and supplies.”
They have redone the floor in Al’s Café, repainted walls, and bought new equipment.
They are licensed but have a lot of ends to tie up, Dani said.
“We’ve been working very hard,” she said. “It’s a lot of work.”
They hope to open May 21 or shortly after. Business hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“We are very emotional about this,” Dani said. “We’ll probably be crying. We want to make Grandmother proud and wish she could be here to see it. It will be nice to see the people in our community that we haven’t seen for a few years.”
The Makovecs have five daughters. Their oldest, adopted daughter Alex Marshall, is 15 and a freshman at Centre High School. She will work at the café.
Al’s Café started in 1971. It was closed for two years after the owner, Manuel Alvarez, died but was reopened by his wife, Delora.
A new sign out front will include the slogan, ‘Carrying on a family tradition.”