first_imgThere have been a lot of changes at Ridgefield’s Country Cafe, although diners aren’t likely to notice it on the menu. Longtime owner Carrie Dennis and her business partner recently sold the venue that has long operated just off Interstate 5 at Exit 14. The newly re-constructed intersection also has repositioned the restaurant’s site about one block north of the junction, a challenge the cafe’s new owners hope to overcome by attracting patrons to the same home-style menu.New owners Jose Guitron and his wife, Maria Mendez, also own two La Casa Tapatia Mexican restaurants in Woodland and in La Center. But Guitron, 42, said he wants to serve American food for a change.“I’ve been thinking about opening an American-style restaurant for a long time,” said Guitron, who moved to Washington with his family in 1980 from Jalisco, Mexico. He started his first restaurant in Salem, Ore., in 1987.Worked her way upAt around the same time, Dennis purchased what is now the Country Cafe from its original owners, VIP’s, a former chain of restaurants on the I-5 corridor. Dennis had worked her way up to managing the Ridgefield venue since being hired in 1981 to work the graveyard shift, serving coffee and meals to truckers and late-night travelers. Hot fudge sundaes were VIP’s signature menu item.That changed when Dennis purchased the restaurant with business partner Kevin Cameron of Salem, who is now a Republican Representative in the Oregon State Legislature.last_img