Popular downtown Fayette restaurant Miknan’s Main Street Pub reopened last Wednesday to a busy and eager lunch crowd under new ownership. Leremie Shaffer and his wife, Elizabeth (Beth), purchased the eatery from founders Mike and Nancy DeLeon.
The DeLeons, after whom the business is named (Mike and Nancy combine to make Miknan’s), opened in 2012 on South Main Street. A year later it moved to its current location a block north on the courthouse square.
The Shaffer’s officially took over the business June 30.
“The community has really rallied,” said Shaffer. “I am excited to be a part of this community and to be welcomed in like that as a business owner is very heartfelt.”
Shaffer has spent almost the last year as an employee of Miknan’s. Nancy DeLeon said they approached him about maybe buying the restaurant because she knew he was the right person to continue the business.
“Leremie was the right one because at the time he was an employee who treated it as it was his own,” she said. “He cared about every customer that walked through the door as though they were the most important customer we had. That told me that he had the same passion and heart that we put into this.
Shaffer is taking over the duties of both Mike and Nancy. Mike did the majority of the cooking and pulled double duty in the front of house most weekdays and nights. Nancy handled much of the bookkeeping and finances as well as promotion and waited on customers. “It’s a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week job, and I don’t think most people realize that,” she said.
“It’s his now, but in order for him to be successful he needs support. He has the opportunity of a lifetime. I think he’s great for the place.”
Shaffer, 32, grew up in Peculiar, Missouri, and graduated from Raymore-Peculiar High School in 2004. He then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia where he was a member of the wrestling team. In one season as a Tiger he finished with a 12-5 record in the 157-pound weight class. “I wasn’t a talented wrestler, but I worked hard,“ he said. “And that’s where my work ethic came from.”
Eventually, he enrolled at Central Methodist University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology in 2012.
During his time at Central he worked at Endless Options here in Fayette. After graduation he was offered a full-time position as director of employment services and spearheaded the construction and design of the company’s recycling facility on Furr Street.
Shaffer is not new to the restaurant business. Besides having worked at Miknan’s, he began his culinary career at a Waffle House during high school, and later cooked in one of the dining halls at Mizzou. Years later, he was cooking at acclaimed Columbia restaurant CC’s City Broiler where he worked his way up to sous chef.
Now Shaffer has his own restaurant. But that doesn’t mean things are going to change drastically. He opted to keep the original name of the business. “I respect Mike and Nancy and I respect what they built,” he said. “People have seen it here for seven years, why change it?”
And it’s not just the name that remains the same. The menu will also stay as it was, at least for now. “Once I get my feet under me, I’ll start playing around with the menu,” he said. And like the DeLeon’s, Shaffer will continue to make the vast majority of his spices and sauces. “It’s all homemade.”
The decor has remained mostly unchanged as well. A pool table and jukebox remain. Shaffer plans to one day update the flooring in the dining room. He also added a pair of ceiling fans and repainted the floor.
The restaurant will continue to feature a full bar complete with wine and draught beer. Miknan’s still offers catering as well.
Sticking withe the family friendly theme, the MiKid’s section with a chalkboard, television, children’s books and an old school desk remains a staple of the dining room. “It was always meant to be about family,” said Nancy DeLeon. That certainly rings true with the Shaffers. They are parents to three daughters; Jenna, 7, Quinley, 4, and Abigail, 3. The couple also has another child on the way. The family resides in Fayette.
As in past years, Shaffer said Miknan’s will play host an event to celebrate Central Methodist’s homecoming in October. “I’m going to make it a big to-do.”
Miknan’s opened to packed lunch crowds last week. This week it resumes regular hours. Dinner will be served starting at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.