Saying Goodbye to Cafe Regis

Our first dance at our wedding – held at Cafe Regis

Yesterday, one of my closest and dearest friends, Martha Young, stepped down from running her own restaurant, Cafe Regis. She turned the reins of the restaurant over to the other owner of the cafe, Gary Ferguson, who will run it interim until they find a third party buyer to sell to.

In one way or another, I’ve worked under Martha’s careful care and loving direction for the past fourteen years.

We used to joke that I’ve quit the Cafe as many times as I’ve quit college. But I always came back after taking breaks. I’ve come back because the Cafe, and Martha, were formative in my development as an adult as a member of this community. I’ve come back because I truly love Cafe Regis; and because I have the utmost respect for Martha as a staunch friend, brilliant businesswoman, and incredible cook.

The magic of Cafe Regis – which anyone who has gone there has experienced – is entirely due to Martha; although she is too humble to admit it. Her heart and soul resonate in every part of the cafe – the colors of paint on the walls, the pots and pans in the kitchen, the menus, the layout of the tables, the very ambient energy of the cafe, were all handcrafted and maintained by Martha. Martha and Cafe Regis are inseparable.

Martha would tell you that her vision would not be possible without her dedicated employees, such as myself. She forgets, when she says this, that all of us would not have been able to contribute to the dream that is Cafe Regis without her unyielding but loving direction.

She’s been engaged in a legal dispute with the other owner of the Cafe, Gary Ferguson, for the last two years – a dispute that finally came to a head and placed them in front of a judge yesterday.

Ferguson filed for a court ordered dissolution of the Cafe a few years ago. In layman’s terms, this means that if he had prevailed in court, the judge could have ordered the restaurant shut down immediately – putting many employees out of work suddenly as well as shocking the community with the loss of a beloved institution.

We had to get married inside at the Cafe. It rained/sleeted/snowed on our wedding day.

He filed papers against Martha in part because he was unwilling to live up to a promise he made when they bought the property together. He made a promise to cover the monetary shortfalls of the property from his own personal funds – yet when the time came to do just that, he wanted out of his commitment.  Dispute arose when Martha attempted to hold him to his word. The dispute became muddled and emotional and grew out of control. Martha and Gary had first a friendship, then a relationship, before all of this went down.

She was entirely prepared to go to trial over the dispute and had painfully built a very solid case built against her opponent, her friend of twenty-five years – a man who inherited his share of the cafe when his wife, Martha’s business partner, passed away unexpectedly.
I’ve stood by Martha since the Cafe’s inception. I’ve observed the entirety of this dispute from the inside. If she is guilty of any mistakes,  it’s of assuming her longtime friend and inherited business partner was a person of character.

Yesterday before the trial, in the judge’s chambers, the judge informed both sides that, based on the information he had, he would likely rule that the cafe would be forced to either shut down or sell to a third party.

Taking her lawyers advice, my friend took a settlement that selflessly protected the jobs of

Every day we visited the Cafe, Monster played with these random figures that customers had left.

her employees for the next 18 months – at the expense of her livelihood and vision.  She resigned, Gary is managing the cafe for the first time, and they have agreed to put the Cafe up for sale.

I worked with Martha for 14 years. In that time the Cafe became a part of my life – a feeling that was cultivated and developed by the incredible community of Red Lodge -a community that was brought together by the Cafe.

I learned how to wash dishes at the Cafe.

I learned how to prep food at the Cafe.

I learned how to cook at the Cafe.

I learned how to bus tables at the Cafe.

I learned how to serve tables at the Cafe.

I learned how to handle money and balance tills at the Cafe.

I learned how to contract with vendors for food orders at the Cafe.

I learned how to cater weddings at the Cafe.

But there’s more than that.

I learned how to problem solve at the Cafe.

I learned how to talk to anyone about anything at the Cafe.

I learned how to manage a business at the Cafe.

I learned how to make things right when we screwed up at the Cafe.

Be there’s more than that.

I met Ashley at the Cafe.

I was supported in my cancer treatment at the Cafe.

I made a community for Monster at the Cafe.

I married Ashley at the Cafe.

I laughed at the Cafe.

I cried at the Cafe.

And in every single case, Martha was there. Just Martha. Now Martha is no longer there. She sacrificed her place in the Cafe so her employees wouldn’t be jobless.

Without Martha, the Cafe is empty. And so, it is with great sorrow and a heavy heart, that I need to say goodbye to Cafe Regis. This restaurant was part of my life – beyond a business, beyond a building. The Cafe shaped me and challenged me to grow.  The Cafe was there for me in so many hard times in my life. The Cafe celebrated with me in my joyful times of life.

And it was all due to Martha.

Goodbye Cafe Regis,

I’ll always love you

Levi Novakovich

The memory of this cafe will always be a part of our life.






Monsterception (Noun) [mawn-stur-sep-shuh n]:  


Meet Willump the giant, drawn without aid by Monster. Stick and tape provided by Daddy Levi.

  • The act of a Monster drawing monsters on monstrously large pieces of paper that are hanging on a monster of an art easel.
  • Origin: While the act of Monsterception was known to originate within the minds of small children dating back as early as 120 AD; the phrase itself was only recently coined and adopted as a part of the English language in 2016.
  • Synonyms: None known within this world. Within the worlds that the monsters come from, however, there may be synonyms.
  • Antonyms: Boredom, Dullness, Unimaginative



There are days when Monster amazes me. I mean, he always amazes me, but sometimes the amazement is associated with negativity (such as my Firefighter post of last week) Today is one of those lucky days where my amazement is focused on the positive spectrum. Zeph learned how to hold a marker today like a proper young boy. Above is his first work, Willump the Giant.

I really like Willump. He is happy as a clam and non-judgmental, with a lazy eye and a comical purple tongue. He talks in a sing song tone and seems to always be up for anything. I took Willump on a parade around the house today, and all he had to say was nice things about the arrangement of furniture and paint choices.He even paid compliment to how exquisite my spice cabinet was. Willump is a stand-up giant monster stick thing who is always welcome in our home.

He’s been teaching Monster some important lessons today. We’re currently up to patience while I work on school and good eating habits during lunch. I almost feel bad using Willump’s gentle and kind teaching abilities without compensation, but when I brought up the matter to Willump he simply smiled, stuck his purple tongue out, and told me that he didn’t mind – after all, teaching is what giant monster stick things do.

Sometimes, I even get jealous of Willump’s ability to somehow explain things to Monster that I cannot. Its times like these that I need to remember that jealousy is not the right answer when your child learns wisdom from a source that isn’t you. I have to remember that wisdom is a learned behavior – and it sticks best when its sources are varied.

So, carry on, WIllump. I am now tasking you with teaching Monster how to handle big emotions when tired. If that’s too much for you (which may be the case, judging from the fact that Monster is having a tantrum on the couch right now about Sassafras having wet paws) then I’ll intervene and whisk him off to nap time. Learning wisdom is tiring work at any age, especially if you are four years old and your teacher is a monster giant stick thing.

-Daddy  Levi






Firefighter Alarm Clocks

You know that scene in Little Rascals where all the rascals are wrangling a fire hose? Here is a link to the exact part that is relevant to today’s topic…

Mornings are tough at our house. We’ve got a hungry toddler, two pets, two adults that are questionably functional before 9 am, and lots of of tasks that have to be done before we all scurry off to our respective jobs and obligations. It’s hardest on us parents. Let’s be honest, every parent knows and dreads morning time, at least some days.

This morning was no exception – especially since Ashley Face had to get up and leave for work early, before Monster and I were even awake. She kissed me goodbye and in my half asleep state I was thankful that we, luckily, have an amazing son.

You see, Monster is amazing in the morning. He usually wakes up, takes off his pajamas and pull-up, stops in our room to see if we are up yet, and even goes downstairs and gets toys to entertain himself. He’s wonderful and patient – sitting through us parents showering, helping out by feeding the animals, and brushing his teeth without prompt.

With that being the routine, I knew a solo daddy morning would be easy. It’s been done countless times before without a hitch and today was shaping up to be no different.

But then Monster chose a very interesting thing to do this morning. He got up as usual, checked on me as usual, then went into his room and began stepping out of his pajamas. He called excitedly back into my room about how his pull-up was dry. I responded in turn with congratulations, albeit a bit groggy.

But then congratulations turned to confusion when I heard it. The pitter-patter of liquid droplets on his wood floor.

My mind first jumped through a few options. Was it a water bottle? No… I didn’t give him one last night. Is it the humidifier? No, doesn’t sound right. That would be more like dumping a bucket of water on the floor. Hmm… it sounds like… what is it…

Then it dawned on me:

The sound of a high pressure hose turning on.

It’s a new house, but I didn’t see any plumbing in his room when we toured the place. There isn’t any plumbing on the whole floor. To my knowledge, in his room, there was only one thing that could cause that sound. The sound of a four year old’s full bladder being instantly and powerfully emptied, moments after removing the pull up that would have contained the urine. And it was at this moment that I made a critical, and tactical error: I asked what he was doing.

Now, if you are four years old, and you are suddenly emptying your extremely full bladder onto the floor of your room, you know that this morning is hard. When your dad calls for you, you of course want to run to him and answer.

That’s right, You want to run to Dad and answer. Forgetting that you are mid-stream – a high pressure stream that can’t be stopped. Things have been set into motion that cannot be stopped.

A veritable torrent of urine, sprayed in a helicopter arc, doused the entirety of his room, the hallway in-between our rooms, and both doors. Not to mention his sheets, dresser, clothing on the floor, and his body.

The irony of this morning, to me, is that we have been desperately working with Monster to stop wetting the bed at night. In his excitement over a clean and dry pull-up in the morning, Monster lost control over his bladder at the most inopportune time.

No caffeine for me, folks. I am totally and completely awake now. Re-watch that little rascals clip I linked above. Giggle at it. If you have the day off, and if you don’t have kids, go back to bed and enjoy a peaceful, relaxing, urine-less morning.

-Daddy Levi