The small Mother Hubbard’s Café in the center of the Grant-Stone Shopping Center has been a peculiar holder-on for nearly 50 years.
Businesses have come and gone, some faster than others. Endless construction of Grant Road in recent years has not exactly been a welcome mat, especially for visitors and newcomers.
And yet, for 47 years, customers have navigated around the traffic jams and poor street-front visibility to find the diner dive whose calling card when it opened in 1970 was the daily 99-cent breakfast special.
But all good stories eventually have new chapters and Mother Hubbard’s is about to turn that page.
On Nov. 19, the restaurant at 14 W. Grant Road will serve its last buckwheat pancakes and green corn waffles on roasted green chiles.
Chef-owner Kelzi Bartholomaei, who bought the restaurant in 2010 and transformed it from typical American diner to gutsy regionally-inspired cafe, is walking away from the business, turning Chapter 2 over to her operating partner Kade Mislinksi.
Mislinksi, in a Facebook posting late last week, said that Bartholomaei “wanted to step away permanently and pursue other goals and dreams.”
“And honestly she was Mother Hubbard’s Cafe along with her amazing staff,” said Mislinski, who owns and operates the months-old Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse on North Stone Avenue, a few blocks from Mother Hubbard’s. “We came to the realization that it was time to close it. It ran its course 47 years later.”
Until the last day, Mother Hubbard’s will serve some of Bartholomaei’s classics with Native American twists and indigenous ingredients, including blue corn, buckwheat, green chiles and agave nectar.
At the end of the final day, the restaurant will undergo a makeover and be closed about two weeks before Mislinksi in early December introduces Flipside Diner, a fast-casual, counter service restaurant whose menu will be anchored by steamed burgers — think White Castle or Ted’s Restaurant in Connecticut — priced at $3.50 and $4.50.
“I felt like I wanted a little faster service,” said Mislinksi, who also owns Saguaro Corners on the far east side and downtown’s Batch Doughnuts & Whiskey. “No one’s ever tried ... counter service diner food.”