Akron Jo’s Cafe Lessons learned at the local cafe

Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:50 pm

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Dreams and opportunities are what one Akron family has found.

Jose Arreola’s dream was to own his own business so his wife, Olivia, and children could have something they could be a part of, learn hard-working values, said his daughter, Betty Arreola about Akron Jo’s Cafe, which was founded in 2000 on Reed Street.

“If you put your mind to it and work hard, it’s possible,” was the lesson he’s taught his children: Andres, Betty and Marlenne.

Jose worked for a Jewish-American diner in California and at Hy-Vee in Sioux City. When he heard about Hiway Cafe being for sale, the family came after church one Sunday, peeked in the windows and the rest is history.

Each family member has had a role since they opened the doors — even Marlenne, who at age 3 with pigtails often helped clean off tables and handed out rolls at catering events.

Andres now owns A’s Enterprises, which helps people make their restaurants successful, but still returns to help some. Betty has a degree in Photography, and Marlenne is studying Business and Mass Communications now.

From dishwasher and potato peeler to cafe manager and bookkeeper, Betty can be found behind the scenes — allowing her dad to have coffee with and to enjoy mornings cooking for customers.

In 2011 when Andres ventured on, Betty’s husband, Ernie Luna, brought his Mexican restaurant experience from Omaha to Akron and is now the night chef.

“It’s my dad’s dream for himself and us,” said Betty who shares the management duties now with Marlenne as there is a new family member helping.

Six-month-old Aaron Luna charms customers with his smiles and dimples.

Akron Jo’s Cafe has a full hometown American menu as well as Tex-Mex, which is Ernie’s specialty. But Jose also brings his Jewish-American cuisine for the adventuresome wanting more than the Midwestern fare of meat and potatoes.

The family also offers catering options — from traditional roast beef and pork to Mexican buffets and Prime Rib fine dining experiences.

“I’d like to get what’s in my dad’s brain down on paper,” said Betty, who enjoys his traditional Jewish bread and matzo ball soup. “He tries to incorporate some into meals here but burgers and fries are what sells and what people love around here are breakfast, meat and potatoes.

“We’ll keep it simple with our daily specials,” said Betty, “because that’s what people love.”

“We’re always open to suggestions, willing to listen,” she said. “We’re just glad we ended up here.”

The cafe is open Sundays and Mondays, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and Tuesday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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