They ran to the back of the restaurant, asking for autographs and pictures with the chef. He made time for all of them.
Afterward, the girls were screaming. Carpenter was fanning herself, and VanNess was crying. She wiped tears from her eyes.
“That made my year,” Carpenter said.
They never got to see the inside of the restaurant. But they didn’t mind. VanNess said she would be back to eat there when it slowed down.
Gross said she wants to eat there, too. As a volunteer, she didn’t get to try the new menu items.
“Once the dust settles, me and my mom will go in there and eat again,” she said. “It’s going to be jam packed for a while.”
She said she thinks people will be happy with the changes. She just wishes she could talk about them. It’s so hard keeping a secret, she said.
Before she ended the conversation, though, she gave one small hint.
“This is going to improve it 100 or 110 percent,” she said. “They’re going to have a turnaround. I believe it will happen.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org