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IDK Cafe in Baring Reopens 95 Days After EF2 Tornado Damage

 By Echo Menges 

Just 95 days after the tiny town of Baring was devastated by an EF2 tornado, the new and improved IDK Cafe has reopened to customers. 

Restaurant owner Shannon Downing credits the ability to reopen quickly to the tenacity of local volunteers and the support of the surrounding community. 

Downing has been in business serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for approximately 11 years, and her business can easily be considered the beating heart of the town of only 124 residents. 

IDK Cafe began welcoming breakfast eaters and coffee drinkers early Wednesday morning, November 8, 2023, and has hosted hungry patrons excited to return to the restaurant. 

It took a little bit of planning and putting a pencil to paper, thinking and dreaming – because I had always worked with what I had in the original building. It took a little bit of thinking outside of the box. Once the plan was formed, I spread the word and rallied the troops and local companies, and local volunteers, friends and family, employees got together and we made it happen. I went from cooking every day and being in charge of a restaurant to being a foreman of a construction site, which I have learned I do not want to do,” Shannon Downing told The Edina Sentinel. “It took lots of hands and lots of people having a goal of me being open. Lots of late nights. Lots of sore backs. Lots of sore feet and a lot of perseverance and here we are.” 

Downing credits the communal effort to help her reopen IDK Cafe. Without the help of others, she would not have been able to reopen. 

“To rebuild the building cost three times what I had for insurance so that meant there was little to no extra budget for labor costs so the local volunteers helped tremendously on the expenses because we went through and spent the insurance money right off the bat and moved into loan and savings and different things to make this happen. The Weaverland community and the Mennonite community and all of the local guys, my customers, my family, my friends all pitched in the labor that made this possible. Otherwise labor is more than what supplies were and I would not have been able to afford all of that. My advice to everyone is to reassess your insurance plan.”