As has become the sad norm for many favored local restaurants of late, faithful patrons found out about a potential change of ownership at a popular eatery after finding a forlorn farewell note taped to the front door.
Hearts sank this week as folks visiting landmark Millie’s Kitchen at its sliver-thin 1018 Oak Hill Road location found a note from current owner Eva Clement, who accepted the apron passed her by original Millie Mildred M. Harris upon the former’s retirement in 2014.
In their note, Clement and her staff thanked the dumbstruck standing on their front porch for their patronage but said it was time to hang up her claim to the apron. There’s no word, yet, on who’s in line to accept it but Clement promised news to come about a new change in ownership in January.
We shall see.
Original Millie opened her “come one come all” kitchen in 1975, a cop/friend/patron volunteering to paint her trademark sign. Millie retreated to the type of kitchen grandma did all her cooking in and started churning out hearty breakfast fare in generous doses. It wasn’t long before every businessman in town was swinging by for early breakfast or a coffeecake meeting and the women were coming by for lunch – everyone charmed by Millie’s demeanor and her food.
Eva Clement worked at the restaurant for 14 years, telling Millie that if she ever sold, she’d buy the place – and that happened, in 1989, when Millie announced she’d had enough and moved to Gualala, dying in the coastal community after falling while crossing Highway 1 in 2017.
Clement continued operating her restaurant with few changes after Millie died, her patrons proving as loyal to her as they had been to Millie and the breakfasts kept coming, along with the trademark coffeecake and bottomless cups of coffee, and those trademark brown coffee mugs kept getting trundled out the door – turning up in the oddest locations across the world.
All seemed fine and good until we started getting reports this week that Clement had posted her note.
And now the world has stopped spinning and Millie’s apron hangs in the balance once more.