Popular Fremont foodery opens Monday (7a.m.) with new owners and familiar fare
By Ken DeLaat
“Can I just have one more Moondance with you, my love?”- Van Morrison
It’s been a journey.
From carhopping at the old A&W in Fremont to managing a restaurant during her days in Ft Smith, Arkansas Cathy Martins has long been involved in the food business.
And now she is the new owner of a Fremont favorite, the Moon Dance Cafe.
We caught up with this busy lady who sat down with us as the activity buzzed around her with preparations for the opening of a new chapter in the MDC story.
“We were up here for Fair Week and I saw the post Tina put out about selling the place. I told my husband and he said ‘find out how to get a hold of her’ and that’s what got the whole thing started.”
Fremont has always been home to Martins (née Christoffersen) even if it was more by proxy during her time living in Arkansas and Ohio. Despite those years living out of state she and her family always returned for Fair Week and she continued to hold close ties to the town that forged her early years
“I always wanted to own a restaurant in Fremont. It’s been a long time dream,” she said looking around the cozy dining area of the cafe.“I just love this town. When I was in school I was what we called a ‘Fremont Lifer’. I was never going to move. “
But she did move, accompanying her parents to Ft. Smith when her Dad transferred to the Gerber plant there.
“Even during those years out of state, I knew I was going to come back one day,“ she said with a smile.
That opportunity arose when her husband’s job began allowing employees to work from home, a move that was made permanent.
“Christian has always loved my family as much as I have, so when he said ‘let’s move to Fremont.’ I could not have been happier.”
The Martins’ moved back in December of last year buying a small farm near her family.
And now they are the owners of a restaurant as well.
“I love the atmosphere, I love being creative in the kitchen and I love the people. I get close to my customers and it’s always great seeing the regulars coming in.”
“When we first came here and looked at the kitchen my husband laughed at me because I got a tear in my eye just being back in such a familiar place. It felt like home, like the restaurant I used to run in Arkansas. and Tina has done such a great job with it. It’s a testament to her that almost all of her staff wanted to come back to work here.”
A testament indeed given the struggles other restaurants have endured with attracting and retaining personnel these days. With opening day looming, Ms. Martins was happy to report she is staffed with a veteran group of former Moondancers ready to return to what has been an oasis of offerings for area foodies.
And now Moon Dance is ready to rock once again.
Monday November 8th at 7am the waiting is over as Ms. Martins will open the door to the hometown restaurant she has always dreamed of owning.
For Moon Dance regulars, never fear. When I posed questions about the fate of my favorite MD dishes she assured me that most of the food favorites that have been gracing the MD menu will remain as they were. Martins’ plans include adding items as time goes by and she gets a feel for the cafe crowd’s culinary cravings.
With enthusiasm for the field of foodery, a passion for the people who become customers and ultimately friends, and a deep and abiding love for the community she can once again call home, Cathy Martins has embarked on this new adventure.
And she invites one and all to come along.
The Moon Dance Cafe, located at 7143 W 48th St in Fremont, will be open daily from 7am to 4pm beginning Monday November 8th.
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