Brenda’s Cozy Cafe named Business of the Year

The 2020 Business and Citizenship Awards Gala will be held Oct. 22nd by invitation only

Known for the friendly service and warm, comfortable setting, Brenda’s Cozy Cafe has been named Business of the Year in this year’s Business and Citizenship awards.

The Stettler Awards Gala has been a prestigious event for many years where citizens have an opportunity to honour the accomplishments of local businesses and citizens.

The 2020 Business and Citizenship Awards Gala will be held Oct. 22nd by invitation only – the Stettler Public Library will be providing a live stream for the public to view on the Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development Facebook page.

“At first, I thought she had the wrong number,” laughs owner Brenda Brinson, referring to when she first received the terrific news. “It took a while to sink in, and I didn’t tell anyone right away just in case it was a mistake and she wanted to take it back!”

These days, she is nothing but grateful for the accolade, as it is very affirming and all the more personally meaningful as owning her own restaurant has been a dream since she was a little girl.

“I was visiting over at Wells Furniture one day, and Bernie (Jackson) ran over to Maggie Jo’s (the restaurant prior to when Brenda purchased the business).

“She came back and said, ‘I just heard that Maggie Jo’s is closing at the end of the month, and they had also been trying to sell for a couple of years’,” she said.

Bernie then suggested that Brenda should purchase the business.

And that was that.

“I thought, hey, that ‘s a great idea – let’s do it,” she explained with a smile, adding that at the time she was also running a full-time catering business.

Brenda’s Cozy Cafe officially opened on Oct. 1st, 2013.

From the start, Brinson said her vision has always been to produce good, fresh, high-quality fast food. “People are in a hurry – they don’t have a lot of time. So it has to be fresh and fast. We pump out a lot of food over a short time over lunch,” she said. “Most of the time it comes out quickly – people are pretty impressed.”

As mentioned, Brinson, a red seal chef, has been interested in the culinary arts from an early age.

“I took a two-year diploma course in Saskatoon at Kelsey Institute, and then I actually got my journeyman ticket in Vermilion at Lakeland College,” she said. “I can remember the first meal that I cooked – my grandmother let me cook when I was 10 years old,” she recalled. “I remember the frying pan I used! It wasn’t a fancy meal by any means – it was fried baloney and fried potatoes, just for me and my grandma. She lived by herself, so I would go over and visit her.

“I was always bugging my mom – let me cook, let me cook. But mom wouldn’t let me,” she chuckled. “But granny let me cook. My mom is a fantastic cook and my grandma is a heck of a baker and cook, too. My grandma was always also involved in the social committee of the ladies’ auxiliary – she was a social convener.

“So any fall suppers, my mom and my grandma were always involved in events like that. Cooking meals just brings everyone together, and that’s what I love about it.

“I’m just wired to serve people, that’s what I want to do,” she said, adding that one of the most challenging things about the pandemic has been not being able to have closer contact with folks in the restaurant. “One of my favourite things is when I set down a dish in front of people and someone goes, ‘Wow!’ I live for those moments.”

And her love for all things culinary extends past the restaurant.

“When I’m at home I’m watching the Food Network, or I’m on Pinterest looking at recipes. That’s what I’m doing on my off-time. I drive my kids nuts because it’s like, ‘Mom – do we have to talk about turkey pot pies anymore? Honestly!’

“And when I go on holidays, it’s also all I want to do. I went to New York, and I went on a pizza tour. I just love it – the whole thing. It gives me joy!”

She’s also thankful for a terrific staff.

“I’ve had people stay with me for years,” she said. “You find good people, and when you do that, you treat them right and make sure they know they are appreciated. I think if they feel appreciated, they will stick around and they will go the extra mile with you.”

Besides the food variety and quality, Brinson said extensive community involvement is also a key to success.

“You make yourself a part of the community and you give back whenever you can – I think that is very important. And it’s one of my other favourite things we do here is to give back.”

A fun example of that is the annual food bank battle she has with Bernie Jackson from Wells Furniture.

“I’m very pleased that we are in a position that we can give,” she said. “It means a lot to me to be able to do that.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mark your calendars for the annual ‘Festival of Lights’ holiday events

Annual celebration raises funds in support of patient care at the Stettler Hospital

Botha’s Dion Proudfoot proves business success can come early in life

Twelve-year-old entrepreneur honoured in this year’s Best of Stettler Readers Choice Awards

Researching cover crop cocktails

A tw0-year trial is looking at the impact of multispecies annual cocktail blends in the Peace Country

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Smooth start to Christ King Catholic School’s year in unprecendented times

Students and staff at Christ-King Catholic School continue to adapt to pandemic’s impact on learning

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read