GUERNSEY – Authentic Tex-Mex has been advertised and identified as carbon copies in many areas of the United States.
At Twisters Eatery and Bed & Breakfast you can find the genuine. And the Tex-Mex chef that prepares the food and who has recreated the menu is third-generation restauranter and Hartville resident, Andrea Bolinger who graduated from Guernsey-Sunrise High School in 1991.
“I’m a third generation,” Bolinger said in response to how she came to become the manager of Twisters. “My grandparents owned a restaurant here in town called Otero’s Kitchen. And then when my grandmother retired, she trained a couple of her nephews and they started Burrito Brothers.”
Bolinger who was raised by her grandparents in Hartville had early ties to Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse, the now popular restaurant run by Scott and Christine Harmon.
She also was recruited and brought in because her reputation preceded her in Guernsey and she is know for both her Tex-Mex cuisine and her baking, although she admits that she’s not as much of a cake baker as she is a cake decorator. She does do the baking though at Twisters with a little help from someone who comes in to pick up the slack when things get busy.
She produces her iconic “crapcakes” entitled something completely different, but guaranteed to turn your bad day into a good day with just one taste.
Otero’s had a great reputation in Guernsey, but didn’t have the facility to go along with the reputation, and Bolinger ended up shutting it down.
“It was thriving,” she said. “And it wasn’t set up for a restaurant, and it was too much. It wasn’t a kitchen and all it had was three sinks in it. I met all of the qualifications (according to health department guidelines) but I was doing it all on my own and it was overwhelming.”
Enter the sale of Twisters, an established restaurant with no manager, and a manager without a restaurant. They say timing is everything and when purpose met timing, the concept was a win/win situation.
“We took over Aug. 7,” she said. “We (Craig Frederick, current owner) had lunch together one day and just talked up the idea. I said I need to find a job and a house, and he said, ‘wait a minute, I have an idea.’ And that was it.”
Bolinger was living in Laramie helping her daughter who was in the middle of a high risk pregnancy and the move back to Guernsey brought many questions until that lunch came about. Bolinger was hired just to run the restaurant and Frederick has another person that is managing the bed & breakfast.
She now has relocated back to her hometown of Hartville.
“My grandparents ran Miners the whole time I was growing up,” she said. “Shorty and Esther Otero.”
That venture in Hartville started out as a Mexican restaurant where her grandfather ran the bar and her grandmother began selling burritos out of the back.
“That was an overnight success,” Bolinger said. “So, he put up a little kitchen in the back and started selling Mexican food in the bar, but then he didn’t like having her in the bar with him all day, so he set her up in Guernsey with her own little restaurant. She did that for years.”
What brought Bolinger’s grandparents to Hartville initially was work at the Sunrise mine. She still remembers where their house was in Sunrise just behind the old Sunrise YMCA. She said that there was an entire corner section designated as the Martinez family area. In her possession is her grandmother’s buffet that was purchased from the Sunrise general store during the mining years.
She was born and raised into the restaurant business, and Frederick landed not only a local, but a veteran with deep roots.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” she said. “I’ve never known any different. It was a great way to keep our family all together and we all had a place to go. And we always had a place to work. I think that’s the reason why I wanted to get into it.”
Twisters has been an important part of the community since it opened nearly 10 years ago. It has a reputation of quality of food and has always represented Guernsey in a positive way.
“Since I sold my pharmacy in November, I had been looking at finding a local business in which to invest,” said Frederick. “When the opportunity arose to purchase Twisters and since the previous owners were good friends of my family, I thought this could be a great opportunity to explore.”
The previous manager recently relocated and the building was up for sale. Frederick was taking on an endeavor that he’d never had the experience for, but purchased a solid business and then hired a well-known local chef and manager.
“When I had heard that it was for sale, I was happening to be having dinner with some family and friends, of which Andrea was one,” he said. “I told her, somewhat jokingly that I wanted to buy Twisters and have her manage it. The more I thought about the idea, the more I thought it could be reality and not just a joke.”
Andrea has had two Mexican restaurants in town, the last one in which she ran out of the small area in the west end of the pharmacy, according to Frederick.
“I felt she did a good business there and I know her food was delicious” Frederick said. “It was my hope that we could offer a Mexican menu along with the American food already being served, so that there would be more food options in guernsey.”
It took a couple of months to finally decide to “pull-the-trigger” and Frederick finally did.
The main factor for the purchase, according to Frederick, included Andreas commitment.
“Because I know little about running a restaurant,” he said. “And other factors included a staff that was already in place and doing a great job of running Twisters, and support from my family. I hope to market the Bed & Breakfast in order to encourage more tourism business in Guernsey.”
Besides adding a Mexican menu, the dream is also to grow their own freshly baked goods aspect of the business, as that too is not the most readily available in Guernsey.
“If anyone knows me, they know that I am committed to Guernsey, and to be a business owner in my hometown again has me very excited,” Frederick concluded.
Twisters is located at 84 N. Wyoming Avenue in Guernsey, and for more information or ordering, you can call (307) 331-3943 or visit their website at http://www.twisterseateryinc.com/. You can also find them on Facebook.