Beloved Sooke diner Mom’s Cafe on market as owners retire

Mom’s Café — a Sooke diner known for “mile high” slabs of pie and sponsoring softball teams — is for sale as the owners look to retire.

“I’m 80 years old, so it’s time to settle down and just quit,” said owner Tom Dee said. “We’ve got no regrets — it’s just time.”

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He and his wife, Elaine, both former engineers at Boeing in Seattle, took over Mom’s Café on May 1, 2003. They were looking for a work project to keep them going after retiring from Boeing.

Dee said at first, the restaurant was little more than a shack, so the first order of business was a massive renovation. But the menu remained mostly the same: diner fare such as burgers, fries, chowder, fish and chips and, of course, made-in-house pies.

Over the years, Dee said, customers have come from around the world. If they aren’t repeats, they have heard of Mom’s through word of mouth.

The diner has been on the market for about a month, but serious offers have yet to arrive.

Mom’s was first opened in 1963 by Howard Lewis and his wife, Jean. Initially, the restaurant was known as The Joker’s Grill, but over the years, it became known as Mom’s and the name stuck.

The café regularly sponsored softball teams in the Stuffy McGinnis League.

Maja Tait, mayor of Sooke, said the restaurant is one of those places known by everybody in town as a place to eat or go for coffee and dessert. “It’s been a cornerstone of our community for a very long time.”

While she loves all the pies at Mom’s, Tait said she has one favourite. “I’m still a big fan of the mile high apple pie.”

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