decades enjoying success in Gull Lake
The restaurant opened its doors on May 18, 2014, and has been finding its footing in a small town with three dining options since.
“I have been working and managing restaurants for 25 years. I always wanted to own my own place, whether it be a bakery, restaurant or small deli,” she said.
“I come from a Romanian background. We cook and I’ve been cooking since I was seven. My grandmother always had me in the kitchen.”
So when boyfriend Kevin Springer approached her to buy the building that previously held popular restaurant Cedars, she had to look at the property.
“I was in Moosejaw and traveling back and forth to see Kevin. We knew I’d eventually move here, and when this came up, we decided to take a chance,” she said.
“It was a process, but he finally called and told me it was ours.”
The main problem Luke faced at first was finding a proper name for her concept. She and Springer racked their brains, and one day Luke saw a music station logo that inspired her.
“I saw it, and it had a record with different numbers around it. We went with that sort of concept, and I thought to myself, ‘Why not Decades?
“We pondered so many names that had attachments to the old days. The Rusty Bumper was one, but this definitely stuck
The Zanidean’s had run Cedars before, and closed down in December. Luke says the restaurant had a humongous menu.
“They gave me a copy of their older breakfast menu. It was four pages. They had sandwiches, subs, wraps, salads and Lebanese food. They had everything,” she said.
“When it comes to the 50s, it was burgers, fries, chicken and salad. It was simple.”
Decades does have one main advantage; their lunch buffet attracts customers daily.
“We started buffets a month and a half ago. We did Sunday brunch from the getgo, but we then decided Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays could be buffet days. We didn’t want to step on other restaurant’s toes. But people started asking why we didn’t do them every day.”
Now Decades does pizza on Mondays, tacos on Tuesdays, ribs and wings on Wednesday, soups and chili or stew on Thursdays and pasta on Fridays. They come with a full salad and dessert bar.
“People really like it. They only get so much time, so this is an easy way for them to eat,” she said.
Luke said opening week was crazy, but it has taken the town some time to adjust since the initial boom.
“We have developed a regular clientele and the oilfield companies come. We have a lot of take-out and pizza. It seems the longer we’re here, the more it picks up,” she said.
“We are doing 75 per cent more business than we were in the beginning. People are catching on.”
As for the future, Luke says renovations are certainly on the horizon.
“I believe in us and this business. I ran businesses for 25 years, from fast food, to sit-down restaurants and bars,” she said. “When we took this over and looked at the costs of renovations, we knew we wanted to do something new, fresh and exciting.” Decades post-renovations will be something “the small town hasn’t seen,” says Luke.
“We want a 50s style diner with a jukebox. We want to bring people in to Gull Lake. We want to have that sign on the highway to lure people in. Maybe we can get a flow of traffic throughout Gull Lake,” she said.
“We want to be big, and we do plan to be here for the long-term.”