Uptown Cafe makes you regular…

New owners Jackie & Shaun Coltrane

There’s something to be said about being regular.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to launch into an Activia commercial. I’m talking about being a regular, which also, strangely enough, makes you feel sort of good inside.

Most of the time, I would just as soon be anonymous in my eating and shopping. I like to just go about my day and not necessarily see people I know. Strangers become a part of the scenery and background noise. Most of the day, I am content to just stay inside my head and listen to the internal chatter. Trust me, it’s plenty noisy and entertaining in there.

One time in particular that I most wished to be anonymous was when I was teaching school at Fair Play. The closest Walmart was in Bolivar so that was the shopping mecca for everyone who didn’t want to travel to Springfield. I used to have this really funny t-shirt of a cartoon dog humping a fire hydrant. It said, “Safe Sex” on it. I found it hilarious. I wore it often.

One day I wore it to Walmart. That day, I saw three different student parents. I strategically crossed my arms over the tag line and humping dog. No one said anything, but if I could have slipped into invisibility from embarrassment, I would have.  Sometimes, it’s best if you are anonymous. Otherwise, you should at least turn your inappropriately funny shirt inside out.

There is one place I visit often enough that I have become a ‘regular’.

Bryon and I started going to Uptown Cafe, as soon as we moved to Niangua. On the weekends while we were building our house, we spent every morning there. Once the house was complete, we just kept on going. Twelve years later, I see lots of other familiar faces when I am there. Like Norm at Cheers, they know my name.

Uptown Cafe is where you can find one or more of us nearly every weekend. Grandpa has become such a regular they call him Hoppy because he hops from table to table visiting and socializing many mornings. Grace has been going since she was in my belly.


When Grandpa missed several days one week for sickness, the staff tried to find out where he lived so they could take him his senior breakfast order of biscuits and gravy. Bryon represents the Medley clan a day or so during the week as well since he works three twelve hour days. I like to go every Saturday and Sunday.

We are so regular at Uptown that we’ve exchanged Christmas cards. Grace’s card hung behind the register for months after the holiday and several of my published books line the knickknack shelf as well.

My favorite dish is the stuffed French toast.


One of my teenage Facebook friends posted in his status that one of his life goals is to become a regular somewhere. There are many definite benefits and really only a one disadvantages to being a regular.

1. You can NOT read a book. People will greet you, engage you, quiz you and if you are alone … join you, because obviously you do not WANT to be alone. Otherwise you would not have come to the restaurant. That’s crazy talk.

1. The waitress’ know what you want and orders for you. Every time. They are correct.
2. You get to see the same other regulars who have now, over the course of many years, become your real and actual friends. You don’t see them usually outside of the restaurant. It’s a special club.
3. The owner gives your kid special holiday gifts.
4. The owner hangs your father-in-law’s art on her walls.
5. People buy that art.
6. You are pretty sure your seven going-on-sixteen year old daughter has a secure part-time job prospect hinging solely upon getting a drivers license at some point.
7. A famous person occasionally stops by to schmooze with the locals.
8. You can catch up on all of the town happenings on the bulletin board in the breezeway. It’s better than the local paper.
9. Cream cheese stuffed strawberry French toast.
10. Breakfast all day no matter how late you sleep in.

Are you regular?