After retirement many couples would like to travel and take life at a slower pace, but that has not been the case for Coe and Loretha Spears.
In 2011 the couple purchased the historic structure located at 2903 Orange Street and opened Spears’ Café the following year. It didn’t take long for the news to spread about the quaint diner. Soon after opening it became a community hub. In fact, Spears’s Café has hosted many visitors traveling through the area.
The couple own, manage and operate the café with the help of a few friends and family members, which gives Coe Spears a unique opportunity for monitoring quality control. His love for cooking shines through every word he speaks. If you have ever had the opportunity to taste the “Spears’ Burger,” you will definitely be going back again.
I have had the opportunity to speak with Coe in detail about his cooking on multiple occasions. He doesn’t mind sharing the intricate details of his techniques. However, the real secrets to his cooking he refuses to disclose. This leads to more tasting and attempting to figure out how someone could be so in touch with making food delicious.
Coe and Loretha have a deep love for the community. After Hurricane Michael the couple opened the café and cooked by the light of flashlights until their power was restored. People donated cash and food for them to cook, and the couple donated and sold food. The small café is such an important part of the community that during that time, it became a center for hurricane donations with which Coe and Loretha were eager to assist in providing.
A short time later the restaurant was closed for about a month due to a personal injury Coe endured. “I’m strong now, my leg hurting is a part of me now,” Coe explained. Since that time they have been back open and eager to serve their delicious food.
In April of 2020 Spears’ Café was affected by governmental procedures designed to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. However, they used their ingenuity to make the most of the situation by having a pick-up window. “Business improved and our sales were up about 30 percent for about a month, but then after that, phewww down about 30 percent!” he continued. For a while the couple closed on Mondays, but that was only temporary. “Now, we do allow dine-in, but we are taking a lot of precautions to enter the place,” he shared. “We require a mask when you enter.” Coe elaborated, “we know you can’t eat with a mask, but when you are checking out, we ask that you wear one because we just want to be careful.” Coe and Loretha wear gloves and masks when cooking and serving. They have also chosen to use disposable plates, cups and utensils, as well as condiment packages.
“We appreciate the business,” Coe continued. With pork prices increasing, their prices went up slightly. However, if the price of beef continues to drop, they may be able to have a cheaper burger. Coe shared that their bacon cheeseburger is a best seller, but there are many other delicious choices on the menu. “Oh man, we’ve got hot wings second to none,” he said with a smile.
Their future plans include staying open until 5 or 6 in the evenings to allow working families to pick up dinner. Coe is also considering adding the “Spears Impossible Burger” to the menu, which will be a great addition for vegetarians.
Coe and Loretha plan to keep the restaurant open for many years to come. Spears’ Café is located at 2903 Orange Street. Call in your order to 850-693-2306. The café is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. What a wonderful couple to have in the community and business to have in Marianna! Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about businesses in Marianna.
Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the city of Marianna.
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