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‘More than a café’

Friends visit in line as they wait to place their orders.

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For Destiny Patterson and Alana Sigafoose, Café 251 is about community – something Alana learned from her dad, Boyd Sigafoose.
“Dad would have loved that we have a restaurant,” she said. “One of the highlights for him was going to Buster’s and blowing smoke with all the old men. They were always at the round table. When we kids got to go, we sat in a corner, but what a treat to get a grilled cheese sandwich and a milkshake.”
It was only fitting that when Alana and Destiny planned this restaurant, Boyd’s Table would be there, complete with photographs and a newspaper write-up from the 1990s.
“We want Boyd’s Table to be a community table,” Alana said. “Sit with friends or if you don’t have anyone to sit with, sit there and make new friends.”
If they had a motto, a phrase to capture what they’re trying to do at Café 251, it probably would be “Unity, Community, Friendship.”
But why a restaurant?
“That would be my fault!” Destiny said. “I was a manager at a café in South Carolina. I knew what I was getting into.”
“Owning a café has always been her dream,” Alana said. “We like to see people smiling and happy. Food does that. There’s just something about people eating.”
It seemed Destiny and Alana faced one crisis after another as they tried to get the building ready. From the time they made the decision to start Café 251 until opening day was one year, four months. They did the majority of the work themselves, partly due to contractors who were scheduled but didn’t show up. Fortunately, they had friends who helped out in several areas.
The community’s response to the café has been tremendous since they opened June 3.
“It has been more than I expected,” Destiny said. “We appreciate the community’s support so much.”
“I’m usually a very positive person,” Alana said. “When it got toward the end, toward opening day, I thought, ‘It’s never going to succeed. It’s never going to make it.’ We’re excited we’ve done so well with as much as gone wrong. I feel like there might be hope! Atmore is so generous. I feel like if we had done this anywhere else, it would have tanked already.”
On June 10, at the six-day mark of being open, was it worth it?
“It’s worth it for the fact where we want it to be. We want to be more than a café. We want to be a cornerstone in the community,” Alana said. “We want to bring people together … We both like to make a difference.
“Dad was big on community. I always admired and respected him for that. This town was his life.”