Cars fill the parking lot at Nathan’s Greenleaf Cafe. In an effort to keep it open, a community initiative started by restaurant patrons Myrna Tuning and Betty Lanum has blossomed into an unsolicited success, with over $78,000 in donations pouring in over the past two weeks.
GREENLEAF – Nathan’s Greenleaf Cafe is more than just your average greasy-spoon diner. It’s a way of life for residents in west Canyon County.
Located on Main Street, the local mainstay appears to be a little bit of everything for those in Greenleaf and surrounding enclaves such as Caldwell, Homedale and Wilder.
A recent Thursday at the establishment was like every other morning: Tables were full, the place was abuzz with customers from all walks of life enjoying abnormally large portions, and enthusiastic banter was prevalent among local residents.
“I’ve made a lot of good friends here,” said Jerry Raburn, a retired rancher, sipping a cup of coffee. “I’ve had a reputation here that this is kind of my office.”
In the past month, however, the establishment’s future has come into question.
According to Roger Daniels, who started the business in 2015, the lease is about to expire. The landlords, Eric and Karen Perry, told the tenants they won’t continue leasing the building, according to Daniels. The family – Roger, his son Nathan and Nathan’s daughter Aspen – either need to drum up the money to buy it or be forced to leave.
With that said, Roger Daniels said the family had been talking about buying the restaurant for the past handful of years anyway and has been trying to work out a lease-purchase deal on the 3,600 square-foot building.
But when Nathan Daniels went to meet the Perrys, their asking price — $350,000 — was more than the family thought they could afford.
The lease ran out on May 15 and sale of the property had to close by June 7, according to Roger Daniels.
Attempts to reach the Perrys for this story were unsuccessful.
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Either way, the Daniels needed to come up with cash quick – $70,000 for a down payment, Roger Daniels said.
Fortunately, the community has risen to the challenge, as donations have been arriving from far and wide to keep Nathan’s Greenleaf Cafe up and running.
A community initiative started by restaurant patrons Myrna Tuning and Betty Lanum has blossomed into an unsolicited success, with over $78,000 in donations pouring in over the past two weeks.
Tuning said that one $50,000 donation was a shot in the arm, while the remaining donations have ranged from $7 to $2,000.
In a text message Roger Daniels said it’s possible the family can now put down enough money to get a loan to buy the facility.
The group hopes to continue raising money which can go towards parking lot work, roof repair and additional maintenance that needs to be done on the facility.
Tuning, for her part, said she’s been amazed by the response.
“It really overwhelms me,” she said. “Really.”
“We went in for breakfast one day and there was a note on the table that they would be closing on such-and-such a date. They couldn’t come up with the money,” Tuning added. “Well, we saw that and decided that it couldn’t happen.”
Teddy Feinberg is the Managing Editor at the Idaho Press. He can be reached at 208-465-8110. Follow him on Twitter: @TeddyFeinberg