Shorty’s Corner Cafe offers homestyle cookin’
Driving by the corner of 1201 Washington Avenue in Detroit Lakes, one may notice a busy little place called Shorty’s.
The downhome, made-from scratch, everybody knows your name kind of café sits right along the bustling strip of downtown, two blocks from the lake.
Shorty’s became Shorty’s on Sept. 1 when Lee Shermerhorn told her bosses at George and Becky’s that she and her family would take over the restaurant so that they could retire.
“I think George and Becky just missed their kids and grandkids down in Wisconsin, and just wanted to go be grandma and grandpa,” said Shermerhorn, who had worked for the couple since 2001 in their restaurants in Frazee and then when they moved it to Detroit Lakes. “Becky is my dad’s first cousin,” explained Shermerhorn, who has been working in the restaurant business since she was only 13 years old.
The Frazee native was used to the job and used to the loyal staff around her, as she was one of four who followed George and Becky to Detroit Lakes.
“We’re just all sort of like family,” said Shermerhorn, who has also recruited blood relatives to help in the warm, welcoming café.
Lee Shermerhorn’s father, Dennis, owns the café, but his full time job at Snappy’s and obligations coaching wrestling in Frazee means his kitchen duties are limited. “He comes in on Sunday’s to do dishes,” laughed Shermerhorn, “I think he just likes to have a little fun with it.”
Two of Shermerhorn’s children also help out on the weekends, as her aunt, Judy Splonskowski, whips up the homemade pies the café is famous for.
Her brothers, Jim and John, also pop in to assist with what has obviously become a true family business.
“They do all of the manly-man, fix-it stuff,” said Shermerhorn, who says the significance of the name “Shorty’s” lies with her other brother, Scott, who passed away 12 years ago.
“And we just kind of decided since he wasn’t here to take part that we would name it in his memory,” said Shermerhorn, who says people in the community knew her brother, Scott, as “Shorty.”
“And his wife, Missy, who is like a sister to me, even designed the sign out front,” she said, pointing to the big Shorty’s sign looming tall by the street.
Shermerhorn says she hopes that people who walk into Shorty’s feel at home and comfortable, but she’s pretty certain they won’t walk out hungry, as they continue to serve up the same sizeable portions of homemade goodness that customers grew to expect from George and Becky’s. Same menu, same prices, same style.
“We’re just a meat and potato, homemade soups and pies kind of a place,” said Shermerhorn. “Nothing comes out of a bag or box … everything is made from scratch.”
Breakfasts are what one would think of when picturing a small, hometown café. “Pancakes, hash browns, omelets…” said Shermerhorn, who says their burger baskets seem to be what they’ve become known for.
“And we do deliver to businesses at no extra charge, so if people want, they can email me to be on my list and I email out the lunch specials every day.”
That email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shorty’s is open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Deliveries can be made by calling 218-844-2300.