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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

L.D.'s has been dishing it up at the heart of Richmond for nearly 50 years, and still going strong

By Brooke Barker

February 10, 2006 | RICHMOND --The worn, orange counters have seen many elbows and held many plates, and signs are beginning to show as brown spots are beginning to peak through the bright surface. L.D.'s Cafe has been around for more than 40 years to greet the locals with tasty food and good company.

"If someone doesn't come in for a few days we start to worry, until we find out they're just on vacation," Laura Orvin said. Orvin has worked as a waitress at L.D.'s for 17 years and the regulars have become like family to her.

L.D.'s began a long time before Orvin. L.D. Bowcutt grew up in the restaurant business. His father had owned several restaurants, hotels and small businesses in Idaho and Utah. When selling insurance didn't seem to be working out in Bowcutt's favor, he sold those businesses and focused his energy on a restaurant as well. Some days Bowcutt would be in the cafe from 6:30 in the morning until 11:30 or 12 at night, leaving only for a few hours in the middle of the day.

Before Bowcutt opened the restaurant in 1959, the small building on Main Street previously served as a barber shop, furniture store, grain and feed store, and caskets were even made in the back room.

"I think it's the atmosphere and uniqueness that keeps people coming back. It's somewhere the locals can come to talk about the weather, the price of grain, the price of animals and who knows what else," said Bowcutt.

Bowcutt and his wife Ann continue to run the restaurant. In the afternoons, Bowcutt can be seen helping out in the kitchen, talking to old friends or just hanging out in his cowboy boots and button up shirt. Although the business seems to be the main focus in his life, he claims he wouldn't continue to do it, if he didn't really love it.

The restaurant has three main rooms. The front area has a counter and several booths. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all prepared along the opposite side of the room. Decorations cover the windows and are mostly holiday oriented: right now it's hearts and cupids for Valentine's Day next week. Ketchup, fry sauce and syrup bottles hide an old switch for the alarm system.

"Before the days of 911, the cafe was the call station for the volunteer fire department and sheriff's office. Whenever there was an emergency here in town, they'd call us and we'd kick the switch to set off the sirens and call whoever we needed to," said Bowcutt.

The back room has pool tables, a bar, big screen TV, round dinner tables scattered around the edges, and a jukebox creating the mood with songs like Tim McGraw's "Indian Outlaw" playing.

"Even though we serve beer, it's the least of our sales. We want L.D.'s to be a family place; somewhere you can eat dinner and watch the ball game on TV," said Bowcutt.

With a restaurant having been around for so long, silly and unusual things are bound to have happened within the walls of L.D.'s.

"I've seen engagements, belly dancers come in and embarrass their husbands, a heart attack, and an individual came in here one time with a shotgun looking for a man who was stepping out with his wife. It looked like someone hunting for pheasants in a field," said Bowcutt.

The third and newest room is the dining room. Its white walls and long tables are a stark contrast from the rest of the restaurant. Memorabilia from the city's Black and White Days adorns the walls. The main attraction, however, is a flag dedicated to the cafe by Sgt. R.G. Lowe, while serving in Afghanistan. Several pictures also show friends of L.D.'s serving in Afghanistan standing near a post that reads, "L.D.'s, 6,869 miles" and points in the direction of the cafe.

With all the seating, Bowcutt says sometimes on the weekend there's only standing room. On the weekends the cooks get to prepare a few steak and shrimp combos. So much shrimp gets used each week that L.D. starts flouring and preparing the shrimp on Wednesday.

The menu also has everything from grilled cheese to burgers and salads. There's also a wide range of breakfasts and dinners.

Some of the regulars, who travel from as far as Downey, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, claim L.D.'s has the best burger for 100 miles around.

L.D.'s Cafe is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day, and the address is 39 W. Main Street in Richmond. You may want to call the cafe at 435-258-5135 to see if there's a seat for you.

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