Cindy Dishner of Cindy's Cafe and Catering is retiring after more than 25 years of restaurant ownership in Molalla.
Cindy's Cafe and Catering, a local staple in Molalla, will be under new ownership come the new year. Cindy Dishner, long-time restaurant owner and native of Molalla, will retire from the business at the end of 2021.
The family-oriented restaurant, decorated in antiques, has a homey atmosphere and the menu offers a variety of comfort food items. Dishner says her employees and customers are like family.
Dishner opened her first restaurant, Ricky D's Pizza, 25 years ago. Then, about 10 years ago, she decided to try something different and opened Cindy's Cafe and Catering, just across the street from the pizza shop. A year later, the shop grew into its current home on Center Avenue.
Having grown up helping her mom with catering events, Dishner always knew that she wanted to go into the restaurant industry.
"I just decided that my passion was probably owning a restaurant," she said.
But now, Dishner is ready to spend more time with her grandkids. She's expecting a third grandbaby in April, she said, and has outdoor projects she's looking forward to on her property.
"I love working outside and just doing what I want, probably for the first time ever," she said. "I've always worked. I'm just going to take it one day at a time, I think."
The restaurant will be in good hands, though. Dishner has sold the cafe to Ingrid Henifin, a longtime Colton resident who has many years of restaurant experience from Seaside to Oregon City.
"She's a great cook and is going to be an awesome leader," Dishner said. "She's got a great vision for Cindy's Cafe."
Dishner said the plan is to be open on Sundays in the future, and possibly for dinner a few nights a week. Henifin said she'd keep the menu mostly the same and will only make a few changes to "elevate" Cindy's Cafe.
"I feel like I won the lottery and have been given a serious gift," Henifin said. "I'm just a crazy person who's been in the industry since I was 14 and this is all I've ever really wanted to do."
Henifin had been searching for a restaurant of her own for some time, but none of them seemed just right, until Cindy's Cafe came along.
"My mom works with Cindy as a server, and Cindy knew I was looking for a place," Henifin said. "It's just the place I wanted to be."
Henifin said the restaurant will remain family-focused. Her mom and niece work there and she expects her daughters will come to work for her as well. She's planning on bringing friends in as well that have a combined experience of 90 years in the industry.
Dishner said she will continue to help with community fundraisers for Share the Love and Relay for Life, but she's excited to come back as a customer to Cindy's Cafe. She'll miss the people she's come to accept as her family, she said, but she will be sure to visit.
"I'll come in and have a meal with them, but then I'm going to get up and get to walk out," she said with a laugh.
Though the last couple of years have been challenging for many in the restaurant industry, between shutdowns and labor and supply shortages, and even a bit of snow during her final week as owner, Dishner sais she's been blessed.
"We remained very busy during the shutdown, more than I ever thought possible," she said. "The last few months have been the busiest that we've ever had."
Cindy's Cafe will be closed in early January for at least 10 days while the new owner touches things up: Fresh paint, fixing up a couple of things and making updates to the kitchen are on the to-do list during that time.
"Be patient with us," Henifin asked. "I want to make Cindy proud. It's been a dream of mine forever and we weren't thinking it was something that was going to come through."
As Dishner wraps up her final week, she wanted to let everyone know she will still be involved in the Molalla community. "I just want to be sure that I thank them for their support over the last years," she said.
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