Mickey's Country Cafe is a refreshing change of pace in Pleasant Valley, Iowa.
That's where owners Mickey and Bill Kosgard serve made-from-scratch favorites with warmth and grace. Togetherness is a way of life for this husband and wife team.
"It's seven days a week," Mickey said. "24 hours a day, we're together. A lot of people can't say they spend that much time with their spouse, but we do it. We make it work."
Mickey grew up in the restaurant business and runs the front of the house.
The "King of the Grill," Bill, is a real master in the kitchen. The former truck driver now delivers big portions at reasonable prices.
"I really enjoy working with my wife," he said. "We spend a lot of time together, and we get along so well."
That warmth shows inside the comfortable setting. There's room for more than a hundred guests. That's double the space and twice the business since they started in 1993.
Customer reactions really tell the story.
"Wow, this place is really nice," said Jerry Porter, Rock Island.
"There's a lot of restaurants, but not a lot of these," added Ginny Fullmer, LeClaire.
Hard work and determination helped to build this business over 20 years. It's a commitment to quality balanced with a sense of humor.
"You're married to the business," Bill said. "You've got to be here every day. You can't call in sick."
The Kosgards often spend more than 12 hours every day at the cafe. But they do it with smiles and a passion for food and families.
"Definitely, you've got to be ready to work hard," Mickey said. "That's the one thing. But you also have to like it. You have to love the people that walk through the door, and they have to know you love them."
That personal connection makes a big difference. From the breakfast favorites to Mickey's tasty pies, these are recipes made with love.
"Everything is made nice and fresh off the grill," Porter said.
It's a lot like going home again.
"You can see the love that they put into the place," said Theresa Gimm, Davenport.
"They're just the mom-and-pop restaurant like we say they are," added Fullmer.
Three generations of the Kosgard family work here these days. It's an old fashioned success story. They're building a future with the cafe.
"We take a lot of pride in what we cook," Mickey said. "Everything we do, my husband and I do together. We make sure that if we wouldn't eat it, it doesn't go out."
Mickey and Bill are working together with a staff of 15 and serving great food.
"It's a choice you make in life," Bill concluded. "We made the choice to do this, and we're going to do it."
Mickey's Country Cafe is at 24487 Valley Drive in Pleasant Valley. It's open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Phone: (563) 359-5634.