Tammy Anderson’s early mornings are about to get a lot earlier.

The owner of Wings Cafe at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport is moving back the cafe’s hours of operations to coincide with the flight schedule changes set to go into affect Dec. 15. With the first flights set to depart at 7:15 a.m., Monday through Friday, Anderson has decided to move her open time to 5 a.m.

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But Anderson said she doesn’t mind the early hours because she loves what she does.

Anderson and her husband, Guy, bought the Wings Cafe in September. The pair have been married for about a year and-a-half and Anderson said owning and operating a small restaurant has always been in the cards for them.

“When we met, this was like our dream,” Anderson said. With their children grown and all out of the house, it seemed like now was the perfect time to start something new. “Just as we were getting into something where we could put them all to work, they all moved away,” Anderson laughed.

Anderson’s staff is small, with she and guy managing the business and just three others serving the cafe. “We’re like a little family,” Anderson said. The staff met while working together at the Eagles Club in Brainerd.

The days start early at the cafe with lots of preparation. Guy acts as the prep chef and Tammy manages the daily grind. She said one of the things she loves most is the days when she gets to wait tables. Anderson has been in food service for most of her adult life, having bartended, waited tables and most recently worked in the kitchen at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

Going from waiting tables to owning a food business has a been a big change for Anderson. “It’s a lot different - it’s a 24/7 job,” she said. “There are a lot of things you don’t think about until you own your own business.”

From managing the paper work to picking up pies, Anderson said it’s a never ending list of checks and balance but one she’s starting to feel in control of. “We’re getting the hang of it now,” she said.

Anderson said she has always loved to cook taking her talents from both her mother and grandmothers who enjoyed cooking.

“I think every place I’ve worked, I’ve been the one to bring the food,” she said. “I’ve just always enjoyed sharing that with people.”

Her secret weapon on the current menu at Wings Cafe - tator tot hotdish.

With new hours set to start next week, Anderson said they felt it was a great time to add to the menu. They’re newest concoction is the stuffed burger - a spin-off of the molten-cheese-centered ‘Juicy Lucy’ made famous by Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis. Anderson said they also planned to add flavored wings and smaller-sized portion menu for senior adults.

Anderson said the cafe will take off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as New Years Eve and New Years Day, so that they and their employees can spend the holidays with they families. With their nine children, ages 18-33 and all living away from Brainerd, Anderson said she is especially looking forward to having everyone home for the holidays. “Our family times are pretty important to us,” she said.

Starting Dec. 17, the Wings Cafe new hours will be 5 a.m to 2 p.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at sarah.nelsonkatzenberger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5879.