Imagine yourself on a warm summer evening, dining al fresco under twinkly cafe lights with a light breeze blowing. A bearded man plays a recognizable tune on his guitar from the corner of the patio, softly serenading you as you dine on dish after dish of delectable cuisine. The sun is setting beyond the trees, a lush green lawn spreads out beneath you like a blanket, and the glow of chandeliers from inside is illuminating your table as the stars slowly start to appear.
Now imagine that you don’t have to imagine it at all! You can find all of this right in our valley at Midway’s The Corner Restaurant. Although a new fixture on Midway’s main drag, The Corner Restaurant carries a long history. Longtime residents may remember when former mayor Gene Probst and his wife Darlene owned the Burgermeister restaurant in the heart of Midway. The Burgermeister (which means “mayor” in German) was a cozy gathering place where people could eat good home-cooked food and make memories, and many people did until 1997 when it closed down. The couple’s grandson, Burkley Probst, grew up at the Burgermeister and really missed Midway’s family gathering spot. He decided in 2017 that Midway still needed that sort of community place where friends and family could gather together and make memories over a table of great food. Together with his dad, Karl, he opened The Corner Restaurant.
In 2018 when plans to renovate an old home into a restaurant were deemed implausible, Burkley and Karl enlisted the expertise of local architectural firm Lythgoe Design to build from the ground up. Together they created a new space with elements of community and family thoughtfully incorporated into the building. The result was a restaurant with sleek design that was both welcoming and meaningful. Visitors can instantly pick up on the warm decor and inviting space that The Corner Restaurant provides, but most don’t know the effort that has gone into creating all the special touches housed within the building. For example, the front door faces the Midway Town Hall, which the majority regards as the heart of the town. The stone on the front of the building is potrock, a stone native to Midway, found when excavating the site where the building now stands. Even the gladiolas at the counter when you walk in pay homage to Darlene Probst, Burkley’s now deceased grandmother and original owner of the Burgermeister. They were her favorite flower.
Their menu is rife with comfort food and good ole’ Americana cuisine, but with a strong foodie influence. A touch of paprika oil gives that extra something to the clam chowder, and a blackberry chipotle barbeque sauce brings a sweet and savory kick to their chicken drumettes. Those who remember the original Burgermeister Ham & Swiss will not be disappointed, because it’s on the menu too! Years of history in the making blend the old and new into The Corner’s menu, and you can feel the perfect balance of old and comfortable with new and trendy.
My favorite thing about The Corner Restaurant is the ambiance. Inside, the natural woods and chandeliers warm the space. The staff has taken care to ensure that surfaces are sanitized and that they are adhering to all health and safety recommendations. Now, in the age of social distancing, the patio is the perfect place for those who feel safer in the open air of outdoor dining. Those adhering to stringent precautions can still enjoy The Corner’s delicious food by partaking in the extensive take-out menu. You will miss out on the twinkly lights and the cool breeze, but you can still enjoy a hearty stroganoff or a nice steak dinner without having to do the dishes.
The Corner Restaurant is a family. Burkley is the front-of-house manager, and Karl is the pastry chef, baking those delicious bread rolls (his wife’s recipe) and whipping up cream pies. Cousins, Carol and John, work with the financials. Burkley’s wife and Karl’s wife and daughter are also part of the team. And those who are not blood-related are part of the family as well. Everyone who works there loves talking with the patrons and hearing their stories, sharing the delicious home-cooked family recipes, celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries, and welcoming them to the family.
The Corner Restaurant is located at 195 West Main Street in Midway. For more information, check out midwaycorner.com.