With the twang of bluegrass interspersed with farm news, a guy named Bob enters the Serena Café and greets us like old friends. As he makes his way to the rear table — and there are only five tables altogether — the regulars seated there welcome him to their mid-morning coffee and breakfast break.
Regulars not only have their own table; they have their own coffee mugs displayed on a back wall. There are over 70, each unique like the person who owns it. Blue jeans and boots are the dress code de rigueur.
Coffee is always a good place to star, and we added a cinnamon roll while pondering breakfast possibilities. The roll arrived heated in a pool of butter and frosting.
Food at Serena Café is hearty, drawing in truckers and farmers for a quick-served meal. I opted for the Farmer’s Special, which arrived in a sizeable skillet as a scramble with eggs, diced potatoes, country ham, and onions. A nice layer of cheddar cheese completed the mix. Along with toast, this meal could hold you for the rest of the day.
Our waitress, who doubles as the cook in this one-woman show, apologized profusely as the biscuits and gravy were already a big seller that morning and only a half portion remained. When that half order arrived, it was a belt loosening experience. Thick sausage gravy blanketed a split biscuit with a dash of pepper sprinkled in for good measure. It was probably good fortune that only a half order remained!
As expected, the sausage option on the Muffin Supreme breakfast sandwich was a hands down winner. Farm towns just know how to procure fresh and local pork sausage.
There’s a full lunch menu which remains untouched until our next visit. Under Serena Secret Specialties, you’ll find several burger choices with country names like the Stella or Enger burgers, most likely a nod to regulars. Polancic’s Piglet is a breaded pork tenderloin from a locally revered butcher.
The 1939 farm house with five tables and eight counter seats also makes pie every day. As we arrived early, we got the last three slices from the previous day: two slices of blueberry and a chocolate cream. Fruit pies are seasonal, cream pies the baker’s choice.
As we departed to so-longs from the regulars, I contemplated spending time on the front porch rocker waving at passing cars and gazing at the silos on the horizon. What a great way to start the morning!
Serena Café is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, plus dinner on Wednesdays from 5:00 – 8:00pm. They also offer a fish fry on the first Friday of each month.