COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — One of Bryan-College Station's busiest weekends in the last year has come to an end, and one local business says that increase in customers was a dream come true.
The increased foot traffic meant more than just an above-average day for one College Station cafe.
The community calendar was packed this weekend, from artisan markets and farmer's markets to signature A&M Family Weekend events and the PBR Aggieland Classic.
"It's been a wild ride. We are coming up on three years that we have been open, and to take an idea from opening up this restaurant and you work your butt off and you make it real. Things are going great.... a pandemic happens, but then you bounce back to something like this," said Michael Lair, owner and operator of Stella Southern Cafe. "God is good. We just thoroughly enjoyed it. I cannot tell you how much we just drank in deep all that excitement and goodness. It was awesome."
Bringing savory southern flavors to College Station residents is what this cafe tucked off of HWY 6 is known for. When they run out of supplies for their signature plates, it's for good reason, like what happened Sunday.
"I think going into this weekend we had 23 cases of eggs, which are 180 per case. We had seven eggs when we called it and said, 'We are done. I am out,'" said Lair.
Cracking their way through a lot of eggs and sizzling slabs of bacon, Lair says he was thrilled beyond measure when they ran out.
"I am not going to lie, I felt like a rock star. We got to that point and I was like, 'We are like Franklin Barbecue. We are out of food. We are closing it. This is unreal.' For me, there was a part thinking I wish we had more to sell, but at the same time, I knew we did everything we could to make this weekend a success," the owner added.
Known everyday as Stella Southern Cafe, this weekend the restaurant was known as the go-to place to eat.
"So many of the students that were regulars, bringing their families in and bragging about this cool, local place, and to get to be that is really cool. That was fun to get introduced as, 'My daughter was telling me about this' or, 'My son was saying we had to go here when we were in town.' It was super cool. We were so flattered," Lair said.
The supply shortage wasn't due to the pandemic or February's winter storm. It was simply due to the community coming together.
"God is good. This has been a wonderful experience. After the unbelievable industry decimation to come back and have something like this, you just appreciate it more than I ever thought I could, which, you know, as a business owner and you have success like that, it's going to be awesome and meaningful, but after what we've been through, it's a whole other level. It seems like a dream I don't want to wake up from," Lair added.
Over the weekend, the entire city saw recovery in action. The excitement wasn't just contained to one business.
"I personally felt alive again. Now we are coming back. We are back for sure. It was real, this was real to see people out. I am stuck on the smiling faces. It was nice to be among people and not be worried and not be in these small little clusters of groups we can be in. We were just out. I was ecstatic," said Kindra Fry, Senior Tourism Manager for Visit College Station. "It was wonderful to see our town alive again and watch it be so full. It gives us all a lot of hope."
Visit College Station says the city is open, ready and excited to welcome everyone back. They hope it's a precursor for what's to come.
"Everyone just seemed so happy. Everybody was moving around and was so friendly and were talking with each other. Everyone seemed to be surprised by what all College Station has to offer," Fry said.