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BOONE LIFE: Friendship, hard work reap tasty rewards

Monday, March 30, 2009 | 5:01 p.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 30, 2009
Robin's Nest Cafe owner Robin Potter gives Dean Gash, one of her loyal customers, a heartfelt greeting Sunday in Centralia while her partner and longtime friend Linda Cunningham runs drinks to another table during a busy lunch rush. Potter and Cunningham realized a longtime dream when they opened their popular cafe Feb. 19 in downtown Centralia.

CENTRALIA — The economic downturn has done little to tamper with the dreams of two longtime friends who wanted nothing more than a place they could call their own. Born on Feb. 19, Robin’s Nest Café on Allen Street in downtown Centralia is the well-loved creation of Robin Potter and Linda Cunningham.

Robin and Linda met about four years ago when they both worked at the Centralia Country Club and immediately formed a bond based on mutual respect for their work ethic. They also happened to enjoy each other’s company.

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“She works just as hard as I do," Cunningham said of Potter. "I’ve worked with a lot of people, and no one is as good as her."

Their gig at the country club didn’t last long. But they developed their friendship over the years and eventually became the hard-working and proud owners of a thriving new restaurant.

“We finally decided we can (open the restaurant). We wanted to bring a brand of good food to Centralia. It’s great to finally be the one making the final decisions,” Potter said. “I don’t like to cook, but I happen to be good at it. My mom always accuses me of being an over-feeder!”

Robin’s Nest Café has been a small tale of economic success. More people come through the doors each week, and many drive from other towns to experience Robin and Linda’s heaping “home-cooked” dishes. The proof is in the pudding, judging by a packed dining room enjoying the special — baked turkey and stuffing — during the Sunday lunch hour.

With hard work, determination and a focus on quality, Linda and Robin said they are making a living by doing the best they can for each other.

“We appreciate each other and thank God every day for what we have," Robin said. "You have to nurture (the restaurant). You have to treat people good and treat it like you would your child to make sure the quality stays up."

Sometimes things really do work out the way folks want them to.


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