Ayman Samie fell in love with American Westerns and other classic 1950s and 60s movies while he was a child growing up in Egypt.
And it is his love for those old films—and anything else Americana—that decades later has served as the inspiration for his new restaurant. Samie plans to state a soft opening on Oct. 18 for the restaurant, named Betty's Café and Pies, and a grand opening on Oct. 20. The restaurant is located at 1981 Silver Bell Rd. in Eagan, in The Shoppes at Cedar Grove mall.
True to its name, Betty's will feature a rotating selection of made-from-scratch pies, including old standbys like pumpkin pie and pecan pie and less-known recipes like chocolate-covered cherry pie.
The restaurant will also have an all-day breakfast menu with biscuits and gravy, omelets, eggs benedict, Samie said. Classic American dishes like hamburgers, chili, broasted chicken and roasted turkey will round out the dinner listings at Betty's, according to Samie. In 1950s diner fashion, Betty's will have an open kitchen and may even host swing dancing events, Samie said.
"The whole idea is just to make the old-days food and provide something that is homemade and made from scratch, we don’t want to have any fast food," Samie said.
Betty's Café and Pies isn't Samie's first restaurant venture. After moving to America in 2001, Samie worked for a time at the St. Paul icon Mickey's Diner before operating Route 52 Café in Cannon Falls.
Samie, 40, will manage the restaurant with help from his brother-in-law and restaurant co-owner Andrew Hybben, who is a machinist by trade. The 2,500-square-feet eatery will have seating for 80. Betty's will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with shorter hours on Sunday, Samie said. The restaurant may employ as many as 10 people, and will also have a meeting room for events or corporate meetings.
Customers during the restaurant's grand opening on Oct. 20 will receive a free treat, Samie said.
"There’s two things I love about America, whatever goes with the old days, like cowboys and diners off the road and pies and hamburgers," Samie said. "It's just fun, I love to have young people here, but always the old ones, the old generation, they make me feel like this is America, this is the real part about America," Samie said.