“I've got an 18-year-old daughter, she's graduating high school this year, and I've always said once she was raised, I would sell the business. I'm a traveler at heart, all my life, so we're both going to spread our wings outside of Stroud,” Welch said.
Welch muses that the discussion to sell the business and move to California started with a teenager's dream to spend her college years surfing.
“She's 18, and when I was 18, I wanted to work on a cruise ship,” Welch said. “That was my grand idea, and I did that for five years. I had the time of my life — that and the Rock Cafe.”
Welch is selling the business but will retain control of the building she worked so hard to preserve after the fire. The business can easily draw a rush crowd of hundreds or thousands at any given time thanks to the large motorcycle and bus tours that stop at the cafe.
“You've got to get good at your game,” Welch said. “And that's what we want to pass on. It's all we do at the Rock Cafe that has made us famous. We have a formula we've developed and it works really well. We try to keep the historical integrity of a typical diner while feeding massive amounts of people.”
Whoever buys the restaurant, Welch said, will also be schooled on the history of Route 66, the road traveled by farmers searching for a better life during the Great Depression, the highway traveled by the legendary author Jack Kerouac.
“I'm going to try to pass on as much of this information as possible,” Welch said. “Route 66 is all about slowing down a bit. ... I always believed true identity and what people love about Rock Cafe is that you're going back to time.”