Resz cooking up homemade meals at soda fountain

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
New head cook and manager Bonnie Resz enjoys a laugh with a customer at the soda fountain at Whitley Pharmacy, where she took over July 1, and is using her cooking skills to create mouth-watering recipes and homemade meals for lunch Monday through Friday for local and area residents. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Head cook: 'I have always been in the kitchen'

If homecooked meals like beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes and gravy, lasagna, Alfredo, a roll and a desert sound good for lunch, and one that is just as fast as fast food, Bonnie Resz, new head cook and manager of the soda fountain at Whitley Pharmacy, has the meals waiting.

Resz took over management of the soda fountain July 1, and has worked for the pharmacy-gift shop-soda fountain combination business for 10 years. She also worked in the giftware section of the store for six years as a merchandiser, as a certified technician for the pharmacy and with food for even longer — as a baker at Ramey's, cake maker, and in her family's restaurant.

Bonnie Resz cooks a homemade lunch at Whitley Pharmacy’s soda fountain off Main Street on the downtown square. Resz took over as head cook and manager of the fountain July 1, and makes delicious, homecooked meals Monday through Friday for lunch that include a side and dessert. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

"I worked in a pharmacy before I started at Whitley, so I had experience," Resz said. "I got licensed when I started working here, then helped Cindy on the giftware side, and do a little cooking, too. The owners Blake and Debbie Whitley, are awesome people to work with."

Now, she is pouring all her talents into the kitchen, spinning recipes and bringing homecooked meals to the table for local residents looking for a tasty and quick lunch.

"She's done a fantastic job," said Pharmacist Logan Whitley. "She makes everything from chicken fajitas to Alfredo pastas to lasagnas and all kinds of lunch specials, and its different every day of the week. It usually involves a main entree, side and a dessert. She can throw anything together and make it taste good. She also does sandwich and veggie trays and sheet cakes for social gatherings people can order ahead of time."

People have been frequenting the soda fountain at Whitley Pharmacy, and other drug stores before it at the same location, for decades, for classic shakes, floats and hand-stirred Dr. Peppers, but also for the experience of visiting a real soda fountain, which are rare but at one time were on every town square. Along with its traditional favorites, another feature that makes the soda fountain popular are its homecooked lunches, which are different every day. In photo, Bonnie Resz, left, new head cook and manager, and assistant Debbie Meltabarger, serve a customer. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

A Cassville High School graduate, Resz has always been in the kitchen.

"I grew up in the restaurant business," she said. "My mom always managed a restaurant, and I can remember standing on a chair cooking. I'm always cooking and always baking."

Since taking over, Resz said sales have been up 25 percent in July and August for the soda fountain.

Homemade lunch specials are served from 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, on real dishes and silverware just like at home, for only $6.99, and include a main course, side and a desert.

"You can get our special until we run out," Resz said.

Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The addition of desert to the daily lunch special is new and has been popular, Resz said.

"We have dessert with our lunch every day," Resz said. "People are enjoying that, and they're liking the homecooked meals. It's the best place to eat in town. It's home-cooking — like what you would have at home, and I think that's what brings people in — and we're quick. I have everything ready to go because I know people are on a time schedule.

"I also work with my sidekick and assistant Debbie Meltabarger and our waitress, Brooke Sorensen; everyone helps me tremendously," Resz said. "Debbie loves to make desserts and she's awesome at it. She went from making a few sandwiches to making all kinds of things and she supports me 100 percent."

Along with homecooked meals, the soda foundation has a sandwich menu, salads, and its traditional, classic milkshakes, floats, hand-stirred Dr. Pepper and snow cones.

Resz says that, along with cooking, she loves interacting with customers, and is known for her fun-loving attitude.

"It's just a fun environment," she said. "We laugh and have fun and sing and customers really enjoy that and interacting with them."

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