MASON CITY, Iowa - When you walk into Awe'z Sandwich Shop, you can instantly recognize a few things: the fresh cooked hamburger, a great meal, and the warm, friendly smiles.
Despite being under different names and ownership, the diner has been serving up loose meat sandwiches, or Beef Delights as they're called here, as well as other items like pork tenderloin, for about 60 years. Currently, Lois Awe, her husband and family own and operate the diner once called Shill's Maid-Rite. Even with the ownership, name and design changes the diner has had over the years, Awe says it's always been a family-like atmosphere.
"You know people's kids, you know if they're not here for a couple days, you're going to call them and find out where are you. It's not just us, but the other customers who come in here."
Recently, though, the shop has faced some challenges; they switched over to take-out only orders back in March, and are still doing so. In addition, they recently applied for loans with the Paycheck Protection Program, but didn't recieve any, as well as raising some prices due to food shortages and increasing prices on meat. Also, there has been a slump in business, to the point where closure could've been a possibility. However, thanks to a Facebook post made by a loyal longtime customer, business has been booming, to the point where they even ran out of hamburger on Monday because of having so many orders.
Awe, who purchased the restaurant about 6 years ago, has been blown away by the support.
"It's so humbling. When people heard that we were in need, they came to our rescue. It's love and faith. Those are the two most important things operating right now."
And despite some long waits, customers are generally understanding.
"We appreciate them. We're sorry for the wait. We're working as hard as we can to make everyone happy and take care of everyone properly."