Farmer turned café owner

John Wirta, Barb Burkel, and Twins Corner Café owner Ronnie Howell pose for a photo at the counter of the local café located on the corner of Main Street and University Avenue in Badger. A retired farmer, Howell bought the Twins Corner Café in October 2013, at 72 years of age. (photos by Ryan Bergeron)

Created by local Bob Yates, this United States map hangs on a wall inside the Twins Corner Café in Badger.

Slathered in sweet barbeque sauce, the ribs slide right off the rack on a plate filled by a baked potato, cut rippled carrots, and a fresh homemade bun. 

After serving this meal, café waitress Barb Burkel said many people would be coming in today because of the ribs, a Friday special.  A bell rings as each customer enters, some coming to sit down and eat and others to pay and pick up a to go order at the café register, sitting on a counter—the back end of a red 1957 Chevy vehicle.

Above a cooler of pop, a black pig-shaped sign hangs, reading: “Smokey Pig Bar-b-q Best in Town!”

One customer walks in and views the specials board for the day and he says, “I guess I got to take a number one.” The number one for the day was the ribs meal for $8.95.  

Needless to say, the ribs at the Twins Corner Café, located on the corner of Main Street and University Avenue in Badger, are no secret, many people enjoying them the best, Ronnie Howell said, but a part of the ribs does remain a secret.

“I always say it (the sauce) is my secret recipe,” Howell said chuckling. 

A retired farmer, Howell bought the Twins Corner Café in October 2013, at 72 years old, from Sandy Ehret, twin sister to Greenbush’s Rockin’ 50’s Café owner Sonia Lee. He bought it looking do more than provide savory food, like the ribs, but a central place for the small town community to come together.

“(I wanted) to keep it going,” Howell said, adding later in the interview, “… I can remember when we didn’t have a café in Badger.”

To see the full story, read the September 6 issue of The Tribune in print or online. 

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