UNION CITY, Ind. — Santena Brickler’s dream has come true. She now owns her own restaurant, having named it Bartonia Country Kitchen.
It’s located at 3460 Arba Pike in the little hamlet of Bartonia, and is southwest of Union City, Indiana.
Busy cleaning, remodeling and making repairs, she is hoping to open at the end of June.
“I heard it was for sale and people kept calling me to tell me,” Brickler said. “I worked for Duane [Saintignon, former owner] here and at D’s, his restaurant in Union City, forever. I love the restaurant business. I work seven days a week anyway for somebody else. My kids are grown and gone, and I’m bored.”
Brickler, who has worked in restaurants all over, including Kathy’s Restaurant and JT’s Brew and Grill, both in Greenville, said she knows how to do everything in the restaurant environment.
The former Santena Pipenger of the New Madison area, she now lives eight minutes away from her new acquisition.
“I will have all home cooking,” she said. “I’ll have fresh meat from Winner’s and Morning Fresh. I will have daily lunch specials and will continue the fish fry.”
The restaurant, she said, will be open seven days a week, with pan-fried chicken every Sunday. She is even going to start serving breakfast at the restaurant.
Among those she is bringing to the restaurant with her include former co-worker Jami Oda.
“I will have a couple other cooks, but I will work a lot by myself,” she said. “There will be two cooks in the kitchen for lunch and dinner.”
Brickler said she will be making her own homemade desserts. She will also have available at least two soups on the menu every day, with more in the wintertime. They also prepare pizzas and subs.
The drive-thru will be in use under her ownership.
Brickler’s plans are also to stay open when the rodeo behind her restaurant begins having its activities for the season.
“I will have different hours to accommodate those attending the rodeos,” said the 1990 Tri-Village High School graduate.
In redecorating the restaurant, she has made all new curtains for the windows.
Her cooking skills began early.
“Grandma Joyce taught me how to cook when I was little,” Brickler said. “She was head cook at the Brethren’s Home. I love to cook and bake. All the time, I will have cherry cheesecake and pies and cakes…everything homemade here.”
She also plans to serve ice cream out of the new cooler that was purchased for it.
The restaurant was established in 1919 by five generations of the Byram family.
“It was a general store first,” Brickler said.
Shelving in the restaurant indicates that it was once a general store, where antiques will continue to be featured.
Husband Brian is supportive of his wife’s dreams and, just like her, he’s excited.
“A really good friend [whose name she didn’t want to reveal] helped me make this dream possible,” she concluded. “And, he believes in me.”
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