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Locals rally behind burger joint

Cassidy Harrell,left, and friend Carolann Nattell and her mother Tina rally outside of Fely's Cafe on Thursday (Wescom wire service/Tom Hubka).
Cassidy Harrell,left, and friend Carolann Nattell and her mother Tina rally outside of Fely's Cafe on Thursday (Wescom wire service/Tom Hubka).

By Tom Hubka

Wescom Wire Service

Standing out in the rain when they would usually be attending class, Azalea Middle School students Carolann Nattell, Cassidy Harrell and Mariah Duarte shout and wave signs to cars meandering down Boat Basin Road.

"Save Fely's," the trio shout at a passing truck. The driver gives a thumbs up then pulls into the parking lot of Fely's Cafe.

The girls, who assured a reporter they had permission from their teacher, and Nattell's mother Tina, are there to show support for the cafe, whose owner was recently asked to leave by the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Fely's has been the recipient of multiple donations, a petition and good business since the news broke earlier this week. The restaurant won the The Daily Triplicate's and Curry Coastal Pilot's Readers' Choice award for "Best Burgers" only a few days ago.

Owner Fely Johnson said the cafe has experienced three of its busiest days in winter this week. On Thursday, she ran out of hamburger buns, and two friends had to run to the store to buy more. Johnson was turning customers away at 5 p.m. because she was out of food.

Johnson received $200 in donations by 1 p.m. Wednesday. By Friday morning, that amount had soared to $1,500.

"This is like summer," Cook Sharron Haight said of the recent rush of business and support. "The outreach has been great. People have just been showing up to show their support."

One of those showing his concern was Rob Roberts. Roberts' friend, Ronald Mills, is conducting book signings for his new book in coming weeks. Roberts said they will now donate a portion of the proceeds to Fely's.

"And I'm going to donate $500 by Saturday," he told a reporter. "You tell people to match me."

In addition, a petition was started Wednesday at the cafe. More than 150 people have signed the document, requesting Fely's be allowed to stay.

Carolann Nattell also posted a plea on Yahoo's "Answers" services, encouraging people who haven't even heard of the cafe to voice their support.

"If you love or like (Fely's), save them," Carolann wrote. "Strike to save the most beloved placed in Brookings."

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