AUSTIN, Minn. – As of Sunday at 2:00 p.m., not a whole lot was cooking at the Watts Cooking in Austin.
Many regulars and area residents stopped in for their final round of favorites from the restaurant including Gary Mix, a patron who has been dining at Watt’s Cooking for the past nine years.
Mix says he’s enjoyed coffee and a variety of breakfast sweets nearly every day over the years, and says he was surprised to hear that they were closing up shop.
“I was really disappointed,” he said. “I didn’t think they were going to, I thought somebody else would buy it and they just leave it open and now I guess they’re going to redo the whole thing.”
Putting the establishment on the market and going through will the sale of the diner was certainly not an easy decision for owner Kermit Watts.
Watts Cooking has been cooking for the past 25 years, but the right buyer popped up at the right time and Watts decided that it was time for retirement.
“I’m kind of the last of the family and I’ve got to quit someday,” he said, “the right time came, and this is the time to do it.”
The only problem is that the new owner, Kwik Trip, has no plans for a diner to go with the gas.
The Wisconsin-based company has reportedly planned on building a $5 million, 6,000 square-foot truck stop in the location of Watts Cooking, and even though the restaurant legacy will end with Kermit and his wife, Watts says these past few days have been worth it.
“It makes me feel good to know that people want to come and enjoy our food one last time.”