Family opens new door to opportunity


Marissa Lute , Editor

For the last twenty-plus years, The Saloon Too in Laurel, Nebraska has carried the slogan “feels like home”. That’s because when you walk in the door, it really does feel like home. It’s actually just like the lyrics from the opening of the 80’s show, Cheers“sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”

Conversations about the local gossip, rainfall, crop production, and the most recent weddings or funerals all take place here. People come in for birthdays, anniversaries, or just simply because they want some down-home cooking and camaraderie.  

If you’re local, there’s a pretty good chance that the waitress already knows what you want to drink, eat, and what kind of dressing is on your salad. There’s even a handful of people who she knows doesn’t like peas, tomatoes, or tartar sauce; who wants extra crackers for his salad, needs extra butter for her hash browns, and lots of sugar for his tea, but it absolutely can NOT be Sweet’N Low.

This place has been my home for the last nineteen years. My youngest memories all took place here, and my handprints and name can even be found in the sidewalk outside. This is where we found my cat when I was three-years-old and he happens to still be a member of the family. There’s a mural of a basset hound Wilson on the west side of the building, and, that too, has a story to tell.  This is, also, where I learned to walk, ride a bike, waitress, and appreciate the small things in life.

I’ve grown up in front of my parents’ customers, who all have been considered extended family. I’m sure some of them even remember me running around in my diaper, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. And now they only see me on the weekends, because I grew up and went off to college. They say it takes a village raise a child, and I’d say my village has done just that.

Through the years, incredible bonds have been made with these people. Not only do they know my future plans, how my dog is doing, and the fact that I mistakenly put E-85 gas in my car a couple of years ago, but I know how much their new grandbaby weighs, how their crops are doing in the field; and wonder that when a regular doesn’t come in, if something is wrong.

In a small town, you aren’t just a waitress. You’re the smile that someone looks forward to seeing on their lunch break, and sometimes you’re the only person who asks about how their week is going. In my case, I’m usually the girl they look forward to giving grief to, but I know that it’s always in good fun and love.

At the Lute residence, there’s a picture hanging on the wall that says, “never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life”. While my family has owned The Saloon Too, we have been given so many wonderful opportunities and relationships that we will, forever, be thankful for. However, we have to remember what is important family. With that being said, it is with great appreciation and humbleness that we say goodbye to you our faithful friends. We extend a  heartfelt thanks for allowing us to be a small part of your lives.

We wish you well, and hope you welcome the new owner, Randy Kraemer, with the same friendship and loyalty that you have privileged us with for the past 21 years.

Doug, Tanya, and Marissa Lute