Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the Kiepersol B&B and Restaurant. The time passes so fast, it is unbelievable. Some of the kitchen staff that started with us are still here fifteen years later. For many young men and women it has been the path to their ultimate goal. Valets turned into pilots, bartenders into doctors and coaches, servers into lawyers, politicians, teachers, homemakers, marketing managers and many self-made entrepreneurs. All the years were good years, each with their own struggles, heartaches and pains. The years after 9/11 I had to say better days will come...and they did.
But most of all today I remember our dedicated customers - the Kiepersol tribe - those in Texas that wanted better. That wanted a place where they won't be embarrassed to bring guests or family. Those patrons that understood everybody everyday just did their best. Early wedding couples now have boys and girls that are 12 and 13 and 14 years old. We still get the annual returns to the honeymoon suite and we know that good people made good memories. I can sit and think and reminisce over the wonderful customers that have passed on. Those who had their last birthday meal here because they loved it so much.
And then I can't help to think about those who showed up and said I can get a steak in town for $9.95. Yes, we didn't please everyone, but it was not due to a lack of effort. Our return customers - our fifteen year customers - have been those un-entitled people that appreciate and deserve something better in life, that work for something better in life and search until they find it. Fifteen years of the same menu. Fifteen years of the best wines and plenty of top shelf to choose from. We never tried to mimic someone else. We always just tried our best to be the best we can be. And again, there are too many people to thank. Even those that understood when a brand new truck tire was damaged by a valet. I remember the joy on the face of an elderly woman when she said, "This lobster bisque is the best I've ever had and I'm out of lobster country." There's plenty of good to remember and then there is also the customer that is back every week that we can never please, just trying to get something for free. It takes all sorts to make life go around.
Kiepersol is finally mature. It's finally the destination that us farmers dreamed of. We finally have a tribe of supporters that appreciate, understand and spread the word about a special place like no other. A special place where we cannot make unhappy people happy, but where real people can experience the products, pleasures and people of our farming lifestyle. They can immerse themselves and they can be a part of it and they can be proud of it. I thank every one of you and looking forward to many more years of good memory-making at Kiepersol.