Local’s journey leads to Four Corners of Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — Western North Dakota has seen dramatic growth and substantial change in recent years. But in certain instances, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
One such example is the Four Corners Café in the still-sleepy town of Fairfield — population 154, according to the 2010 U.S. Census — which was purchased last year by Jesse Romanyshyn.
Having grown up on a farm 17 miles from Fairfield, and after earning a degree in hospitality and tourism management from North Dakota State University, the 32-year-old worked in the restaurant business for Grizzly’s for several years and even tried his hand working in the oilfields before coming back to his roots to re-open the small café.
“Pretty much all our baked goods are made from scratch,” Romanyshyn said Tuesday at his restaurant. “We get locals here, as well as a lot of truckers — a lot of oilfield people. We see new faces every day, but we have our diehards who come in every day or every few days, depending on their schedule.”
Rife with a Ukrainian theme inside, the café was erected back in the early 1980s and was a local mainstay for many years before closing down for several months prior to Romanyshyn taking over last July.
Usually open seven days per week — Romanyshyn said Sunday hours vary because of church obligations — the Four Corners offers down-home cooking at affordable prices. Not to mention some tasty dessert options.
“It gets slower during the winter months, but we do a lot of catering, too, for MBI (Energy Services of Belfield),” Romanyshyn said. “People seem to like our burgers a lot and all our home-cooked food, which we have Monday through Friday. Our meatloaf is always popular and our cheese buttons, too, during lent. People can come in or call ahead and take out. People are thrilled that the café is open again and that a local is running the place again.”
Romanyshyn, the only cook at the café, gets a lot of help running the place from his mother, Cindy Brew, who said she enjoys working for Jesse.
“I enjoy working here very much,” Cindy said. “Some days I almost live here, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Romanyshyn, who lives in Belfield, puts in a lot of hours at the café but said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I tried the oilfield thing for a few months,” Romanyshyn said. “The paycheck was great, but I got tired of some of the people you have to deal with. Money isn’t everything. I grew up coming to this café as a kid, so it has a certain nostalgic value to me, too. I think the community is just happy that the red café in Fairfield is open again.”
The Four Corners Café is located along on the east side of Highway 85, which cuts directly through Fairfield, and can be found on Facebook. Breakfast is served until 10 a.m. and, don’t forget, coffee is always free with the purchase of a slice of pie.