Route 66 News

Rock Cafe is no longer for sale

Rock Cafe owner Dawn Welch announced on her blog Saturday she has removed the “For Sale” signs for her iconic Route 66 restaurant in Stroud, Oklahoma.

The announcement came on the 75th anniversary of the restaurant and her 21st year as owner. After almost two years of a lot of traveling while the Rock Cafe was on the market but still operating, she said she had a “change of heart.”

Several bikers who happened to be at the restaurant during her announcement helped her remove the Realtor’s sign.

She explained on a blog post titled “A Love Letter to Stroud”:

In my 21 years, I’ve reached a several phases of burn out from sheer exhaustion and frustration that would perpetuate extreme decisions to contemplate leaving a successful career for the hope of something new. During my tenure at the Cafe, I was also Assistant Manager of Tanger Outlet Mall, a licensed Oklahoma private investigator & security guard, an American Airlines Flight Attendant, studio manager in Los Angeles, and mentor for new business women in far away lands.  […]

During my absence from Stroud and the Route 66, there was always much speculation and gossip but these careers and the people attached to them always provided tremendous growth and change.  Running a small business in a small town can be many things from rewarding to suffocating and trusting another to operate it in your leave can be vulnerable and detrimental. I’ve been blessed to have Beverly, who most wanted that damn sign down. She allows me to wander aimlessly because she knows upon return comes the tide of change. Change is something she is most afraid of but also trusts my instincts. […]

The tide of change has once again arrived and it’s time to remove the sign. Its also the beginning of transformation and growth that Stroud can hang its hat on and tout that we believe in our city and its people. We are committed and stronger then ever.

I’ll be around…. seemingly aimlessly.

Could this be the future??? We hope so.

Welch didn’t mention it, but she also oversaw a complete and arduous rebuilding of the restaurant after a fire in 2008. The blaze destroyed everything but the rock walls and the restaurant’s original grill.

Welch initially became well-known to roadies because of her varied food offerings, which ran from Cajun to German to Oklahoma favorites such as chicken-fried steak. She gained fame when Pixar Animation Studios based her personality on the Sally Carrera character in the 2006 hit animated film “Cars,” and her already-popular restaurant became packed during the summer months.

Welch and her Rock Cafe have appeared in several television programs, including “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and she published a cookbook, “Dollars to Donuts.”

(Image from 2007 of Dawn Welch giving her “Cars” spiel from ElectraSteph; image of the Rock Cafe by Chuck Coker)

3 thoughts on “Rock Cafe is no longer for sale

  1. Susan Yates

    Congratulations on being the bearer of such good news, Ron. I gladly shared your article with the Route 66 Face Book groups to which I’ve subscribed. Good news for Stroud, Oklahoma and Route 66 fans everywhere.

  2. Doc1

    I have never been to this Café so will have to put it on my list and make a trip in the near future
    I tis always good to hear that she did not sell and has taken the sign down
    The next owner may not have had the same since of caring as she does
    Hopefully the town will give her more support

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