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Boardwalk Cafe opens Monday

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

The second Original Boardwalk Café opens up in Peru on Monday.

The first location sits on Broadway in Logansport.

For those unfamiliar with the eatery, the menu will  include soups, salads, hand-tossed and thin-crust pizza, and the café’s trademark: grinder sandwiches, an array of about 15 oven-baked submarine sandwiches on bread “made from scratch every day” with meats cheese and vegetables, according to co-owner Bryon Stephens.

Fan favorites such as the tater tots smothered in cheese and bacon, green onions and sour cream will also be offered in Peru.

Stephens first opened up Boardwalk Café in Logansport in 1992 with his brother, Joe, and sold the “then vibrant” business in 2000.

After witnessing a series of different owners and a downturn in profitability, Stephens and his wife Patricia Rozzi repurchased the café in 2013 and transformed the space into its current state.

They opened that location in 2014 with a new name, The Original Boardwalk Café, to let people know that the eatery would be producing the same quality of meat and cheese dishes made the same way, Stephens said.

“We wanted to grow our little brand and Peru’s a great sister city,” Stephens said, “so it was a natural spillover.”

Stephens said the idea of opening a second location has been on he and Rozzi’s mind for quite some time.

The new Original Boardwalk Café will inhabit the former space of Marco’s Pizza, and will hopefully retain some of that lost employment, Stephens said.

He caught wind of the opportunity as he served as president of Marco’s Pizza for 14 years, and helped oversee an increase from 100 to 900 chains.

“This could be the second of 900 Boardwalk Cafes,” Stephens said.

The café will probably be unrecognizable from Marco’s Pizza, as Stephens called it homey and elegant.

Stephens and Rozzi thoroughly remodeled the space, and added photographs by Rebecca Titus of Peru landmarks, including a 5-foot-wide aerial view of Peru shot from a helicopter.

They added 32 seats for dining in, and will add outdoor seating when the weather permits.

Carry-out and delivery for catering or factory orders will be available, but there won’t be residential delivery.

The Original Boardwalk Café is located at 123 N Broadway in Peru, and will be open on Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We’re very excited” for Monday, Stephens said. “Give us a try.”