Chef offers extra serving of gratitude

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Michael Ellison, far right, owner of Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon, Elgin, is shown with some of the veterans who attended his appreciation breakfast last week. They are, back row, left to right: Ralph Clausen, Bob Rothlisberger, Dave Christen, Mark Benson, and Ron Soppe; and front row: Duane Strong and Don Sutter

No immediate member of Michael Ellison’s family has served in the armed forces and yet as Veterans Day approached, Ellison felt compelled to do something to say “thanks” to those who have served. Since feeding people is what he’s does best, Chef Mike, as he’s better known, decided to offer breakfast at his Elgin business, Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon. Veterans and their spouses enjoyed a free buffet Monday morning, a time when Chef Mike and his staff are usually recovering from a hectic weekend. Non-veterans were welcomed, as well. They could make a freewill offering, which was given to the Elgin American Legion. “I’ve had friends in the military and I really appreciate those who serve,” Chef Mike said. “I feel a debt to them, and this seemed like a good what to repay a bit of that.” Chef Mike admitted he wanted to do an appreciation breakfast last year, but the thought occurred to him too late. This year, planning started earlier, and he got some help. Two of his vendors—Rinheart Food Service and the Des Moines Bacon Company chipped in with food donations. “They didn’t even think twice,” he added. “They were on board from the moment I laid out my plan.” Many fast food and traditional restaurants offer a free beverage or meal to veterans on Veterans Day, but Chef Mike took his plan a step further by including spouses. “We don’t often think about their sacrifice or remember to thank them,” he said. “I thought that opening the breakfast to them would be nice and also a good way to make it a larger community event.” The restaurant was full most of the morning despite the snow and wind.

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