by Lisa Tome
Alan Amos has been in the restaurant business for nearly 40 years, but for the first time, his location isn't mobile.
In August, Amos and his wife, Mary, bought Spready Oak Country Cafe near Rising Sun.
The Amos' were frequent customers at the restaurant for years, eating dinner there several times a week, and sometimes dining there twice a day.
They became friends with the former owners, Calvin and Debbie Jones, who often joked that the couple should take over Spready Oak.
On August 1, that long running joke became a reality. They bought the business and began leasing the building, which was built in the 1950s and was originally an ice cream stand.
"I'm scared to death. But this is my dream come true," said Alan Amos. When the couple decided to buy the business, Alan said his sister-in-law told him it was about time he followed his dream and that for him to own a restaurant was meant to be.
"It's very exciting and nerve-wracking. I'm nervous. I want to do right by everybody. My great grandmother had a restaurant," said Mary. "I love the customers. That's the bread and butter."
Alan's day job was as a water and sewer operator. He has worked for Cecil County and in the Towns of Perryville and Port Deposit. He has worked in water and wastewater treatment since 1988 and maintains his licenses. He quit his job in July.
Mary is the restaurant's bookkeeper and will maintain her full time job as a speech pathologist at Conowingo Elementary School. She can also be found bussing tables or doing whatever needs to be done.
Alan is handling the day-to-day operations. He is doing quality control, working as the back-up cook, serving as the maintenance man, and ordering supplies.
"I want to make sure if people have to wait for the meal, it's a good meal," he said.
"It's a family restaurant. There are no TVs and no wifi. It's time to bring families together again," said Mary.
Since taking over, they've kept the existing staff and menu intact. They've added fresh cut fries and Alan may add pit beef to the 48 seat restaurant.
"The staff here, I am happy with them. They go above and beyond when needed. Do they complain? Yeah. But they still do it,” laughed Alan.
The couple said when they took over, Spready Oak was a successful, thriving business. Popular items include liver and onions, meatloaf, homemade soups, and homemade puddings. Wednesday is pasta night and Friday is steak night.
Breakfast is served all day. Alan is also working on perfecting a fired bologna sandwich which is likely to appear on the menu soon.
Mary said they will continue tweaking the menu and may add items according to customer requests.
On weekends, the couple has worked catering out of the Always Smoking food truck, at area festivals including Hon Fest in Baltimore, Punkin' Chunkin', Maryland BBQ Bash, The Preakness and non-profit events. They have owned that business for a decade but Alan worked food trucks and carnivals for "Pop" Rapposelli from Perryville before he was a teenager. He also works a food booth at Hunter's Sale Barn on Mondays.
Spready Oak Country Cafe is located at 1843 Conowingo Road, Rising Sun and is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. You can like them on facebook.