After a two-year break, the Williams family continues the tradition of offering food and entertainment at century-old Auburn Hotel & Tavern.
The Auburn Hotel & Tavern was one of many small businesses adversely affected by precautions put in place in 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The 2020 closure was a blow to the community. The building at 101 W. Midland Road opened as a hotel in around 1883. Later, it become solely a tavern. For years, the Williams family owned the business.
When the owners announced in 2020 that the tavern would close, many in the community were saddened. But Bruce and Yazmin Williams were energized. They bought the business from his father. Bruce “retired” from his trade as an electrician and the couple set to work on re-opening.
The building at 101 W. Midland Road opened as a hotel in around 1883. In 2020, it closed briefly. Two years later, though, Bruce and Yazmin Williams opened the business again. (Photo courtesy of Auburn Hotel & Tavern)
“There was a huge hole in the community without it. I really felt obligated to get it open and running again. I couldn’t let it go out of business in history under our family name,” Bruce says.
Before they opened, the couple made some upgrades. They re-did all the flooring, updated the electrical system, and brightened the interior with fresh paint. Visitors will also notice new light fixtures that create a brighter atmosphere than before.
After more than two years of work, the “Home of the Willyburger” re-opened in August. Bruce and Yazmin say the community welcomed them with open arms.
“Mondays used to be slower, but now it doesn’t seem like there are really any slow days,” Bruce says.
From the outdoor sign and menu, guests will see Auburn Hotel’s signature item: “the Willyburger” (a burger loaded with mushrooms, bacon, American and Swiss cheese, served deluxe). The restaurant is also known for its broasted chicken dinners and pizzas.
Yazmin, who has worked in the restaurant industry for years, says it’s been a dream of hers to own a restaurant. Her passion for cooking shines through on the menu, especially in the offerings for Mexican dishes.
Today, the couple prides themselves on offering large tamales (that can also be ordered by the dozen, to go). Daily specials include:
- Monday: Kids eat free with purchase of adult entrée
- Tuesday: Taco Tuesday & Tamales
- Wednesday: $1 off burgers, nachos, and burritos
- Thursday: $1 off chimichangas and taco salad
- Friday: shrimp & fish tacos 2 for $7; $1 off fish dinners
- Saturday: $1 off steak sandwiches
- Sunday: 89¢ wings; $1 off pizza; pulled pork sandwiches for $6.99; and free pool
While they’ve kept many traditions alive after re-opening, they’re open to innovation and fun.
Every Thursday is bike night and Saturdays always feature entertainment. The tavern partnered with GrubHub for online ordering and delivery.
The Williams are reviewing the restaurant’s menu and may make changes in the future. To stay updated, check out the Auburn Hotel & Tavern Facebook page
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