ER Nurse Opens Betsy’s 5-Corners Cafe

Betsy Trusel offers Fruit Salsa to her granddaughter, Rae Eckton, who is visiting from Provo, Utah. Betsy Trusel received this hand-drawn Valentine from her husband after he dubbed her “The Duchess of Busti.” Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

The latest buzz in Busti and the surrounding area is about the new cafe, Betsy’s 5-Corners Kitchen, which opened a few months ago. Word has spread quickly about the delicious scratch-cooking served everyday but Sunday. One local man has never missed stopping for a meal that has occurred during the hours of operation since the opening. Many others have come by once daily with numerous people stopping three to four days per week. This may be due to the fresh, clean facelift or the cheery wait staff, but more than likely it is for Betsy’s delicious dishes. Her reputation for good home-cooked meals started long before she opened on March 20 of this year.

Many years ago, her husband, Dave Trusel, was stopped for speeding, when he was on his way to her house for the very first time. When the trooper asked if he was in a hurry he said, “Yes, I’m on my way to Betsy’s house for dinner.” The policeman said he would be in a hurry too if he was going to Betsy’s for dinner and let Trusel drive away without a ticket. When her dinner guest arrived, he asked if she was “the Duchess of Busti.”

Delicious food was not always an option for the restaurant owner.

“My mom was not much of a cook,” she says. “It is a big joke (with family members). My mom’s favorite food to feed us was a can of peas and mayonnaise served with crackers or Minute Rice with a little blue six ounce can of Durkee’s mushroom gravy. In the summertime she would give us braunschweiger with green peppers and cukes on a Ritz cracker topped with another Ritz cracker.”

The daughter took matters into her own hands at 9 years of age when she made her father’s breakfast of bacon and eggs before he left for his out-of-town construction job. Meatloaf sandwiches were one of his favorites, so she asked her mother what ingredients went into meatloaf and without a recipe, she made a dinner of meatloaf and baked potatoes.

The restaurant logo is a copy of a picture of the Duchess of Busti Betsy Trusel’s husband drew on a Valentine many years ago.

What brought her from a more than 30-year ER nursing career to owning her own restaurant? Each time the couple ate a meal out, she would tell her husband she could make the dishes better than the ones they were served.

“Every time this restaurant came up for sale, we would say ‘we should buy it.'”

They finally put their words into action by purchasing the business and spent a lot of time and energy making it into what they had pictured. Although Mr. Trusel isn’t a handyman, they were both very pleased at the outcome of the wood floor he refinished. The vinyl tablecloths were removed to reveal attractive wooden tabletops, which were fitted with glass coverings. The kitchen was given a thorough cleaning and some of the kitchen equipment was replaced. Two 39-inch flat tops were traded for a 20-quart mixer.

Not only was the facility given a complete facelift, but the sewer system was given attention as well, including replacement of the lines. Larger gas lines were installed and a reverse osmosis water system was added to remove chlorine.

“Our drinking water is excellent,” she brags.

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips and Cherry Surprise.

The entrepreneur does all of the baking, including cinnamon rolls, five-chip cookies and four-layer carrot cake which are all made routinely. Various other desserts are randomly added. Sourdough and whole wheat bread is made every other day.

“Many desserts are shareable,” says the baker. “I had four ladies share a piece of four-layer carrot cake today. Each layer is two and a half pounds of batter. Four pounds of cream cheese and one pound of butter goes into the (overall) frosting mix.”

She makes a point of saying the filling in the strawberry cream cheese stuffed French toast is not the filling sold in the refrigerated case at the supermarket. Unlike some “homemade” biscuits, hers are not made from a mix. The gravy served with them is made from scratch, as well.

“I use tons of buttermilk in biscuits and waffles and the brown eggs are free range,” she states. “There are people that come specifically for the corned beef hash. I cook about 40 pounds of corned beef weekly for Reubens and hash.”

Scotch eggs, which are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat and coated in bread crumbs, are very popular and, in fact, frequently sell out. Although real maple syrup is served, Betsy has imitation and sugar-free syrup ready on request. The thousand island dressing and fry/dipping sauces are both homemade and the macaroni and cheese is made with three cheeses.

Even though the business opened just over three months ago, changes have already been made. A pasta night has been added on Thursdays from 5:30-8:30, the only night dinner is offered as of now. There are two options. Five ounces of spaghetti with three ounces of sauce and two meatballs served with a parmesan garlic roll is offered for $7.99. The second option is available for $11.99 and consists of eight ounces of spaghetti, six ounces sauce, four meatballs and two parmesan garlic rolls. Both options include a salad and beverage.

She hopes to start Betsy’s Breakfast Bags soon, which will be available for those who don’t have time to prepare breakfast before leaving for their morning commute. The grab and go bags will contain a “decent” breakfast sandwich or breakfast burrito, yogurt, fruit and coffee.

Since opening day, she has lived up to her reputation and has not disappointed her customers, who tell her the food is great, the dining room is bright and clean and the service is awesome. She feels blessed to have good help.

“People tell me this is the most welcoming restaurant they’ve eaten in. Some have driven miles to eat here. We are family friendly. You could be the One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater and we’ll give you the best service ever.”

The restaurant seats 52 inside and a covered outdoor deck that seats an additional 24. The logo is a reproduction of a picture of the Duchess of Busti Trusel drew on a Valentine he made for his wife several years ago.

Mrs. Trusel’s hobbies are numerous and interesting, but at present her time is very limited, as she not only runs her business but is currently working per diem at UPMC Chautauqua WCA.

“I want to be the chicken whisperer, but it doesn’t work,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. “I love to sew, but I don’t have time. I like to make quilt tops, but I don’t like to quilt.”

She is “kind of a Sudoku nut case,” has “an abnormal crush on professional basketball player LeBron James,” and enjoys doing theater but hasn’t had time in recent years. Both she and her husband have Segways. She has ridden hers from Busti to more than one location in Jamestown.

“We go on Segway dates,” she says. “I want to be a Senior Olympics Segway gold medalist.”

She has been an ER nurse for over 30 years and is a lifetime member and the first female member of the Busti Fire Department. She is very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and is excited to be going to a weeklong girls’ camp where she has been active for years as a nurse, but now for the second year is going as it’s cook, where she cooks in Dutch ovens over campfire.

Their children are scattered across the country. She has two daughters and a son and what she refers to as three “bonus” children, two sons and a daughter.”

She has shared several favorite recipes.

“Cherry Surprise was one of the recipes my mother made for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She always used packaged whipped topping. For the visual effect, it is important to serve it in a clear, glass pan. The vision of the layers is appetizing,” says the daughter. “The crust can be baked if you prefer, but since this recipe requires no baking, it is okay to refrigerate the crust prior to adding other ingredients.”

“Grandma Snyder was a friend of my husband’s growing up and he absolutely loved her nut bread and I do, too.”

Mrs. Trusel’s “most favorite of all foods” is Persimmon Pudding served with cream. Even though persimmons don’t grow in this area, she shares the recipe that has been in her family for years. There were many persimmon trees on the farm where her father grew up in south central Illinois near the Indiana state line.

“Persimmons grow at the top of tall trees. They are as prolific there as maple trees are here. We waited for the frost that made them sweeter and caused them to fall.”

Turkey Pillows is a good recipe in which to use Thanksgiving leftovers.

Breakfast is served all day at Betsy’s 5-Corners Kitchen. Her hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. with added Thursday evening hours of 5:30-8:30. Special arrangements may be made for showers, receptions, Christmas parties and lunch or dinner meetings for groups up to 50 persons by calling 487-0145.

Grandma Snyder’s Nut Bread

2 ¢ c flour

¢ tsp salt

1T baking powder

1 c sugar

1 well-beaten egg

1 c milk

1 c nuts, coarsely broken

Sift dry ingredients together. Add egg & milk. Mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add nuts and stir gently. Grease a loaf pan, line it with wax or parchment paper. Grease paper and then dust with flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. It is really good warm, but cuts and serves better after 24 hours.

Cherry Surprise

Crust:

1 ¢-2 c fine graham crackers crumbs (about 12 full sized crackers)

¢ c sugar

6T butter, melted

Mix crumbs and sugar together. Slowly add melted butter, stirring with a fork until combined. Press into bottom only of a glass pan, 9” x 13″ or smaller. (I use a 9 ” x 9″ square because I like a thicker crust.) May be baked or chilled. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes or chill in refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes.

Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1-2 drops lemon flavoring or extract or other flavor, if desired

Whipped topping or whipped cream

Cherry canned pie filling, or desired variety

Beat cream cheese. Slowly mix in confectioners’ sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Add flavoring, one drop at a time, taking caution to not overdo. Spread on the cooled crust. This should be a fairly thick layer. Chill for at least an hour. Cover with whipped topping. Spoon pie filling on top. Chill for one hour or more.

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwi, peeled and diced

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced

8 oz raspberries

1 lb strawberries

2T white sugar

1T brown sugar

3T fruit preserves any flavor

10-10 inch flour tortillas

Butter or butter flavored cooking spray

2 c cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine fruits, sugars and preserves. Cover and refrigerate. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter or spray with butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, cut in wedges and arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Serve with fruit salsa.

Persimmon Pudding

1 1/2 c persimmon pulp

1 c sugar

2 c sweet milk

3 c flour

1 egg

butter “the size of a walnut”

1 tsp each baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla.

Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into an 8” x 8″ x 2″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve warm with cream, half and half or milk or chill and serve with whipped topping.

Turkey Pillows

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, stuffing and vegetables)

gravy

Cut bread dough into 1/4″ thick slices and roll each one into a circle. Size will depend on how thick you like your crust.

In separate bowl, mix other ingredients, having chopped Turkey.

warm mixture.

Use gravy to moisten mix slightly, to hold its shape.

Place small scoop of mixture slightly to side of midline on bread circle.

Fold over and seal edge. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 until golden brown.

Ladle gravy over each “pillow” and serve.

Buttered Potatoes

Potatoes, the freshest, newest, smallest available (allow 3-4 per serving)

Salted butter

Fresh parsley or other flavorful herb

Scrub and rinse potatoes a couple of times. Some of the peel may come off in this process. Bring to boil enough water to cover potatoes. Add potatoes and boil for three minutes. Drain. In a frying, melt 2 tablespoons butter per cup of potatoes. Cook potatoes in butter until tender and golden. Drain fat. Return potatoes to pan. Add one tablespoon butter per cup of potatoes. As butter melts, shake pan and roll potatoes in pan until they are golden and slightly crisp. Add finely chopped parsley or add herbs to last round of butter. Serve warm as a side dish.

Cilantro Chicken Salad

Combine in a jar with a tight-fitting lid

2/3 c extra virgin olive oil

™ c lime juice

™ c fresh cilantro, minced

™c crushed red pepper flakes

¢ tsp salt

Shake well. Chill for 30-45 minutes

In a large bowl, combine 4 c leaf lettuce that has been torn, 2 c cooked chicken cubes and 1 pt cherry tomatoes

Drizzle chilled dressing over salad. Gently toss to coat.

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