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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Out in Paradise, the Cracker Barrel's back

By Cody Littlewood

November 3, 2008 | PARADISE -- The Cracker Barrel Café & Catering has reopened under new ownership.

Annette and John Drew, from Orange County, Calif., bought the building and property from the Olsen family who originally purchased it in 1980. The café opened four weeks ago after being purchased by the Drews in February. It had been fairly run down and sanitation was a huge problem. Now the café is completely renovated and just received an excellent food sanitation and safety inspection. The Drews are proud of this accomplishment and the report by Bear River Health Department is taped to the front register.

"When we opened everyone [in the area] went home and called everyone they knew. The busiest day we've had up to this date was the Friday after we opened. All the pent up demand," said John.

The building was completely gutted. Everything inside and outside of the building, including some new walls, was renovated. A restaurant designer came in to do the layout for the café in order to help fit all of the necessary equipment. The Drews also visited the health department and asked for a list of everything they needed to do in order to create a flourishing, clean restaurant.

The café has an excellent local feel to it with booths, bar, and tables available for seating. It provides a very "at home in the country" feel. The menu contains many local favorites and varying possibilities for different palates. The lettuce is crisp, the sandwiches hot, and the fries are a perfect amount of country. Pumpkin soup is offered as one of the daily specials and is a favorite. The staff consists of the Drews and local students in the area. The service is very hospitable and comfortable. Halloween did not go unnoticed at the café, and the entire crew was in costume to sport holiday spirit.

"Our trout has been one of the top selling items on the menu," said Drew. He was speaking of the trout which is locally raised by Sportman's Paradise in Cache Valley. Another local company Weeks Berries provides fresh jam and jelly for the restaurant.

The business plan is to support the community, and in return the community will support the café. The Drews plan to support marathons and biking events by setting up portable restrooms, water, and Gatorade outside of their restaurant which is along the race paths. They also allow kids in the area to spend their time at the café and plan to put picnic tables outside along the patio area.

The Cracker Barrel offers catering as well. It is the only food establishment in Paradise, but they do draw attention from areas other than the south end of the valley.

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