Our Story

It all started in 2009 when Barb Anderson saw an ad in her local paper for a goat for sale in northern Wisconsin. Following an accident that left her with a couple of broken vertebrae and a broken wrist, Barb, a self-described "farm wife," needed to do something to heal. Turns out milking a goat is a great way to rehabilitate a broken wrist. Especially if that goat happens to be the very special, personality-plus, Ida Mae, for whom the café is named.

You could say Ida Mae inspired the opening of the café as well – in a roundabout way. Barb and her husband Rog (pronounced "Rodge") ended up buying three goats that day, Ida Mae and her two kids, Iris and Romeo. With all that milking and wrist-healing going on, Barb and Rog soon found themselves overloaded with more milk than they could drink. What to do?

Make cheese! Barb had just looked into cheese-making classes when she met Julia Apaloo in 2010. Barb and Julia’s parents had been friends for many years, but Julia had been living in the Twin Cities. Barb invited Julia to join her for cheese-making classes.

One thing led to another, and soon they were off to buy another goat, Ida Mae’s sister, Clarabelle. Their intention was to start selling goat cheese and milk direct from the farm, but their hopes were quickly dashed by the significant hurdles imposed by the state of Wisconsin.

And that’s when Barb learned that a café owner in Amery might be selling. The light bulb went off. She mentioned her idea to Rog and Julia, and the next thing they knew, they were on their way to owning that very café, with the help of the SCORE mentorship program. When it came to naming the restaurant, "Ida Mae’s Café" was the unanimous choice.

Barb and Julia are a natural fit for the restaurant business. Having both cooked for large groups of people, they have a fabulous repertoire of down-home recipes. Barb used to cook for farm crews when she and Rog had milked Jerseys years ago. And Julia, who does most of the cooking at the cafe, not only has extensive restaurant experience but also grew up cooking for her family. Her parents both worked, and each of her five brothers and sisters were required to cook one meal per week for the family. By the age of eleven, she was cooking a full meal!

While Julia spends most of her day behind the grill, Barb is either in the office tending to the many details that go into running a business or she’s out in the restaurant, meeting with customers, and finding out about their day. She also bakes many of the pies for sale at Ida Mae’s.

As for Ida Mae, right now her milk is being put to good use at home, although occasionally her cheese is given away as free samples in the restaurant. In the future, when Rog retires, Barb and Rog are looking toward expanding the farm so it can be granted Grade A status, meaning that Ida Mae’s milk and cheese could be used in the restaurant.

For now, both Ida Mae and Clarabelle have their - ahem - hoof prints on the menu. Check out the Ida Burger, suggested by a customer and otherwise known as the everything burger. As the menu states, Ida Mae eats everything so this was the perfect burger to carry her name. Contrast that with the more refined Clarabelle, whose namesake sandwich is roast beef and melted Swiss cheese on a ciabatta bun served with au jus.

Ida Mae's is open everyday of the week, except holidays. Hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays.

Bakery items are also for sale, including pies, muffins, and cookies. Special orders are available.

Breakfast is served all day. The daily lunch special is served from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Catering services and conference room available. Contact us for details!

P. S. Be sure to check out Ida Mae’s Facebook page! You can learn all about Ida Mae, who is the reigning “queen” goat on the farm, as well as all the members of her court: Clarabelle, Iris, Peppermint Patti, Ellie, Emily, Clarence, and Barney. Check out all the photos of their “royal” adventures on the farm!

121 Keller Avenue North, Amery, WI 54001
715-268-4242
HOURS: Mon-Fri., 6:30am to 2pm; Sat., 6am to 2pm, and Sun., 7am to 2pm
Daily Lunch Special served from 11-2. Breakfast served all day!