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Paynesville Press - March 29, 2006

Caterer joins Hilltop Restaurant

By Michael Jacobson

Melody Hoeft, who ran her own catering business full time for 15 years and part-time for the past six years, has joined the staff at Hilltop Restaurant this winter as a baker and caterer.

Hilltop had an opening on its staff and the opportunity to have Hoeft rejoin the business and offer catering seemed like a good opportunity, said manager Jeff Evans.

hill top Hoeft worked for the restaurant, located on Highways 4 and 55 east of Paynesville, 25 years ago. She has done catering on her own for the past 21 years. "I missed it," she said of working full time again, "and I truly enjoy it."

Melody Hoeft, right, joined Hilltop Restraunt, managed by Jeff Evans, left, as a baker and caterer this winter.

Hoeft is doing all the baking for the restaurant and making salads, as well as handling catering. "Baking," she said, "is my favorite thing in the world to do."

She has added only slightly to the menu, making homemade donuts as well as cakes, pies, and cookies.

The menu for catering is flexible, too. "We can do anything they want," said Hoeft, for picnics, graduation parties, funerals, wedding receptions, etc. Hoeft will use the kitchen at Hilltop for catering.

With the restaurant already operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week, they had the space and staff to do catering, said Evans. Stricter regulations also have made it more difficult for independent caterers, but Hilltop already needs to have its kitchen licensed and needs to have insurance. Combining their kitchen and staff with Hoeft's expertise is why the arrangement works good for both sides, said Evans.

Evans and Hoeft can be reached at the restaurant at 320-243-4578.

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