ANDERSON — A local restaurateur has put her hat in the ring joining a national contest and has pledged any winnings to improving the park she loves.
Stacie Cowgill operates Bobber’s Cafe at Shadyside Park and over the weekend was first in her group of 28 contestants in the Favorite Chef competition.
In the first round that ends on Feb. 25, the top 18 in each group advance to six more rounds of voting.
You can vote online once a day for free using your Facebook account and purchase extra votes for $1 a vote with 25% of proceeds benefiting Feed America.
The winner will be determined the week of April 2-8.
“I have lots of ideas, but it still takes a lot more money to get there,” said Cowgill when talking about her plans for the eatery.
If she wins, she has pledged the prize money toward upgrading the outdoor dining at Bobber’s Cafe.
“I won’t take any of the $20,000. I started this project years ago to save this park,” Cowgill said.
Over the weekend the contest website was updated and the prize money bumped to $50,000.
This will be her seventh summer leasing the bait shop from the parks department.
She gutted the inside and turned the shop from a place to get live bait to a dining destination that happens to sell live bait.
Her made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy is a top seller and her tenderloin is an award winner.
“We sell thousands of tenderloins a year and we bread each one of them to order,” Cowgill said.
She said she gets goosebumps thinking about how the support of the community not only has her in first place of her group but has seen Bobber’s Cafe through the pandemic.
“It’s just really about this park. When you sit here and look out, there’s nothing like this anywhere in Anderson,” she said.
“This park just really is a gem for the town.”