After 25 years Old Town Cafe, located off of Timberlane Road in Market Square, is under new management. Ashley Webb assumed ownership on May 1, 2015 from Marcia Harrison who owned and operated the business since its opening in 1990.
Ms. Harrison is heading south to spend more time with her family.
The change in ownership was more like a family transition than a business sale. Ashley, a graduate of Lincoln High School, began working at Old Town in 2001 as a host and cashier while attending TCC and eventually graduating from FSU with a degree in event planning in 2009.
During this period, Ashley became Marcia’s go to person and an assistant manager. Also during this time, Old Town, the customers and the thirty or so employees became Ashley’s family. This became evident when Ashley left Old Town in 2012 to deal with ailing parents. Over a two year period she lost her mother and father and that is when she realized the importance of Old Town.
“I grew up here. We had our wedding reception here, we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday here. This place is a part of me,” said Ashley.
So, at the annual Christmas dinner that she and Marcia shared in 2014, Marcia and Ashley sealed the deal on the transition and Old Town had a new owner.
What about the future?
The new owner is well aware of the competition in the restaurant industry. New chains have put severe pressure on locally owned restaurants. Ashley feels that Old Town can continue to serve their loyal customers and build a new generation of guests with a mix of good service, good food, and a local feel.
What about a name change?
No way. Ashley was quick to point out that the name Old Town is not about a time period, but a place – Tallahassee. Old Town was the nickname given to Tallahassee by the Muskogee Indians. Ashley and her husband Ray are making minor changes, with the most notably change being the a new logo.
Ashley said that their most popular dish remains the meatloaf and she is proud of their hand “pattied” burgers, blue plate specials, fresh seafood, and slow cooked baby back ribs.
Ashley is focused on providing great service and continuing to make Old Town a place where people feel comfortable.
She closed out our interview by emphasizing her commitment to the local community by saying “we are local through and through. We get our fish from Southern Seafood, we bank at Prime Meridian, and our vegetables come from Chapman Produce. That is is important to us and we hope it is important to our customers.”