Oscar’s Restaurant in Grangeville is under new management and is offering a variety of specials. Owners, managers and staff invite the community to stop in and try the restaurant and offer feedback.
As of Wednesday, February 18, 2015
GRANGEVILLE “I’ve always felt like Oscar’s was in my family – even after my family didn’t own it anymore,” said Mike Asker.
Asker’s parents, Bill and Bonnie Asker, owned and managed Oscar’s for years and then sold it to the Pearsons who were friends of the family. Two years ago it sold to friend Tom Sommers.
“It became evident that Tom wasn’t really a restaurateur,” Asker said. “It all came about kind of suddenly but I made the decision Oscar’s needed rescuing.”
Asker stepped in and started managing the eatery a month ago after Sommers moved on to another job in Florida. The end of January he found out the facility was in danger of going under in a matter of days.
“I called my friend Shane Newton, who is a dentist in McCall, and said, ‘get your checkbook, get in your truck and get here,’” Asker laughed. The two have gone in on business deals previously, he said.
Although Asker said he knew he wasn’t going to get rich with Oscar’s – far from it, with what was owed and what needed done, he shook his head – it wasn’t about that.
“I have been emotionally invested in Oscar’s for many years and I just couldn’t see it close down,” he said. “I could not stand to see 20 people without jobs.”
And there was more than a little bit of sentimentality involved in his thought process. After all, it’s where he met his wife, Lorrie (Fluharty) Asker, when she was a teenage waitress.
Asker and Newton are still in the process of taking care of bills and have spent a lot of time cleaning and maintaining the interior of the restaurant. They hired Laurie Rockwell who is a part-time assistant and “takes care of so many things,” Asker said.
“She is organized and great – she has a long background in managing restaurants so she has very valuable experience,” he said.
The team is busy trying to get Oscar’s back to what it used to be years ago by improving the quality of the food as well as customer service, Asker stated, as well as getting food served in a timely manner.
“We know some people had some bad experiences during the past couple of years and we want those people to give us another chance,” he said. “In years past we were able to draw people from throughout the region; we want to do that again.”
Asker said he and Newton hope to build the restaurant up and keep it going strong until someone with a passion for it, who sees the potential and wants to work for it, comes along.
“Let’s face it – I have a full-time job and a family,” said the Farm Bureau Insurance agent. “I don’t want to be in the restaurant business forever. But I want Oscar’s to succeed and I plan to do all I can to make that happen.”
Oscar’s is currently closed Sunday afternoons and Mondays so “we can focus on projects,” Asker said. They will open those days once summer hits and business picks up.
In the meantime, they will offer specials, takeouts and all the old favorites – as well as some new salads and desserts.
“I like food,” Asker said. “I want good food and I want to feel good when I get it and when I eat it. I want everyone to have that same experience.”
Oscar’s offers meeting space as well as Brodock’s Lounge, catering and banquets.
Mike and his two sisters worked at the restaurant and he also managed the former Jeremiah’s restaurant in Grangeville in the early ‘80s. He said his kids, Jon and Abbey, are even excited to get a turn working at Oscar’s.
And he has one more trick up his sleeve: He’s trying to get his wife, Lorrie, to waitress there again.
“I just don’t know if that will happen,” he joked.
Call Oscar’s at 983-2106 or stop by 101 East Main Street.