Originally Published: October 1, 2015 5:25 p.m.
It's been nearly a year since Blackboard Café opened in Prescott Valley at 3101 N. Robert Road. Open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Monday, the restaurant has more than a few regulars coming in for breakfast and lunch. And quite often, customers will come in hungry only to leave not only full, but quite possibly with some new acquaintances as well. The restaurant can be reached at 928-772-4004 and found on Facebook.
The café is owned by Linda Auston and her daughter Denise Atkins, who had previously worked at a bed and breakfast in Jerome, but always wanted to own a little restaurant. But before Blackboard came into the picture, there was the hope of a place in Jerome, Atkins said. However, that sold.
"Then I decided if this is what we're supposed to be doing, we'll find the place we're supposed to be doing it in," Atkins said. "The next day, I did a search for restaurants for sale in Arizona, and we found this place."
There's a reason behind the name Blackboard Café too, according to Akins. She wanted the menu to be dynamic, changing with either the seasons or the whims of Auston and Atkins.
And there's a lot of people who are regulars at the café, with some people coming in three times a week Atkins said. However, she noted that about 60 percent of business on some days is from brand new customers.
"I tell them if we can get them in the door once, they'll come back," Atkins said. "We've had people that come in for breakfast and come back and bring others back for lunch."
And it's easy to see why those people keep coming back. Blackboard Café has an average rating of four out of five stars, based on sites like zomato.com (two reviews), yelp.com (62 reviews) and tripadvisor.com (52 reviews). The restaurant is the number one rated restaurant on tripadvisor.com in Prescott Valley, Atkins said.
"Everything great about this place!!! ... Definitely recommend!"
"We've found our escape-from-Phoenix spot!"
"I will make a point to go there again! And again."
"Wonderful place for breakfast and lunch!"
"We will be back every time we visit Prescott Valley."
"Totally found this place by accident ... I will be coming back for sure."
"If we return to Prescott we will definitely go there again!"
"I have never been to a restaurant where I left euphoric. The BBC was an amazing experience and the food is phenomenal. I really cannot wait to go back."
Aside from the food, it's the atmosphere that keeps bringing people back, Atkins said.
"We wanted it to feel like we were having a meal in our home. I think we did that, I always think it's awesome," she said. "Here we've literally watched couples make friends from table to table and leave exchanging information. When it's super packed, we've set strangers together and watched them make friends with each other."
Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.