FARMVILLE — After a six-year closure, Bonnie’s Café reopened last month under the management of BBD Hospitality LLC.
BBD Hospitality LCC is comprised of “Big” Tommy Brady Sr., his son “Little” Tommy Brady Jr. and Big Tommy’s son-in-law, Kevin Diermeier.
The family wanted to continue the tradition of the café, which began in Farmville in 1940 when Randolph “Bonnie” Allen and his wife, Ruby, opened it.
The Allens maintained the restaurant until Sam Hobgood took possession of it in 1968. The restaurant changed hands again in 2014 when Tommy Dickinson took ownership.
“We all agreed from the beginning of this project that it was important to try to capture as much of the Bonnie’s Cafe look and feel as possible,” Diermeier said. “This place has been a Farmville icon for nearly 80 years. We wanted to maintain that great legacy.”
“Ever since Bonnie’s closed in 2014, my father has thought about how great it would be to get it back open and do something that he has always wanted to do,” Tommy Brady Jr. said.
Once it was decided to restore Bonnie’s to its original glory, renovations began.
“When Dixon & Associates committed to renovating Bonnie’s to current building and Pitt County Health Department standards, we knew it would be challenging,” Tommy Brady Sr. said. “After all the hard work, we are so proud of the result achieved by Dixon & Associates, and their contractor Carolina Millworks and Flooring in turning Bonnie’s Café into what it looks like now.
”A project this big is bound to have some delays, but the goal was always to bring Bonnie’s to current standards while maintaining its historical look and feel,” he said.
During renovations, owners were surprised when they found an original mural that had been covered by wallpaper.
“We looked at all the renovation and prep work as if we were bringing an old friend back to Farmville,” Diermeier said. “Now that we are open, it’s been wonderful hearing the stories our guests are telling us about how long they have been coming to Bonnie’s.
“We really feel like this is our opportunity to carry the torch the legacy of being Farmville’s hometown café since 1940,” Diermeier said. “I think as a family we were excited but also a little nervous that our two journeys had finally gotten us to the starting line and now it was time to put up or shut up. We were very proud of the way the renovations maintained much of the original look of Bonnie’s Café but also worked in some significant upgrades.”
Brady Sr. serves as the chef and has always enjoyed cooking for large crowds including when he was working with the Shine Club or helping Brady Jr. with fundraisers for the Farmville Fire Department.
This is not the first restaurant endeavor for Brady Sr., as he once owned and operated Brady’s BBQ and cooked pigs for Bonnie Allen at Bonnie’s Café.
The family hopes to continue Bonnie’s as a historic staple in Farmville.
“Before we talk about the future we’d like to express how humbled and honored we are by the overwhelming support and positive feedback we got during our first week,” Diermeier said. “many of our guests and Facebook friends have requested that we open on nights, weekends, and breakfast.
”Our plan is to make sure we are happy with the quality of service we are providing during lunch and then we will follow our plan to add some additional hours,” he said. “Our hope is that we can live up to the high standards set by the Allens, Hobgoods and Dickinsons and really provide a great offering to our Farmville friends and neighbors.”
Jamin Dixon, the owner of Dixon & Associates, is excited to see Bonnie’s come to life.
“I love having Bonnie’s back in Farmville,” Dixon said. “It’s always been one of my favorite spots, and I feel like it helps define Farmville. I’m proud to be a part of the team of skilled hands and Bonnie’s enthusiasts that helped bring it back. I look forward to many years of good eating with Tommy, Tommy and Kevin.”