Owners renew lease for Clover Patch Cafe in Bayview

Neil Colburn and Candace Culver, the owner-operators of the Clover Patch Café, have signed a new 10-year lease for the 25-year-old restaurant.

The venerable restaurant is located in Bayview Center on Highway 525, and the building is owned by Goosefoot. The center is also home to Casey’s Crafts and Casey’s Red Apple Market.

“We’re a dying breed of independently-owned casual dining places,” Colburn said.

“But Goosefoot’s Debbie Torget and Chris Hurley worked with us; they are going to be making building improvements and we appreciate their attitude and support.”

Colburn noted that the unpredictability of the economic downturn is tough on everyone in the restaurant business.

“It’s hard enough during normal times,” he said.

The café has 30 employees in the summer, 23 in winter.

“I think we’re positioned well in terms of location and the kind of affordable items we feature for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said. “Handmade good food is what we offer.”

Colburn worked with dietitians at the Island Athletic Club in Freeland on a menu featuring alternative low-fat and heart-healthy menu items, plus careful portion control.

“We wanted to expand the market,” he said. “We call it ‘Neil’s lighter side’ so folks can enjoy guilt-free dining. Or not.”

Colburn himself has lost

80 pounds over the past two years and said that if he can do it, anyone can.