COTTAGE GROVE – The iconic Hot Spot Café was revived this week, returning to its original place on Main Street. The historic restaurant brings back fond memories for many — after all, what’s more classic than sharing a milkshake and a basket of fries with friends?
New owner and CEO Len Blackstone has made it his mission to preserve the history of the Hot Spot, one of Cottage Grove’s cultural touchstones, by bringing back the big miner’s breakfast and adding a dash of new flavor too — with fresh donuts made-to-order, vegan options and espresso.
“This idea was years in the making,” said Chalice Savage, Hot Spot Operations manager. “Len has a deep desire to serve the community. He saw a need for a sit down coffee shop where friends and family can come together.”
Savage manages the restaurant alongside her husband and executive chef, Shawn Savage. “Working together and being able to stay local is the number one draw of why we do what we do,” said Chalice. “Being able to work alongside my husband has been a pure delight. Today, Halloween, is our 17-year anniversary of our first date. We worked together then too. This brings our whole family full circle, allowing us to work, play and serve our beautiful community.”
The historic building was reconstructed over many months, housing not only the Hot Spot, but Blackstone’s “Fun! Tours and Rentals,” aimed at promoting tourism and community in the Grove.
“There has been such a great response to the business,” said Chalice. “So many folks are coming in and telling us stories from when the Hot Spot was previously open. Memories range from folks who came in for a cup of coffee, breakfast and a bagged lunch for work or previous employees reminiscing.”
During the Friday artwalk downtown, the Windy Ridge band played their tribute song to the café, written by Dave Munsell, whose grandmother owned and operated it for decades. Years ago, to celebrate her 80th birthday, Munsell wrote the ballad, “The Hot Spot Café.” The song was performed alongside the historic sign lighting, its bright neon visible in most old photos of Main Street.
For more history on the Hot Spot Café, keep an eye out for the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce Magazine, debuting in January.