Restaurateur shares his wealth of happiness at café

Bud Hagy

June 16 – North Ridgeville

Bud Hagy is a man in motion.

At 57, the man who envisioned and now runs Café 83 in North Ridgeville perhaps should be slowing down to enjoy the millions of dollars his prior business, North Coast Bearings, brought to him after its sale in 2008. Instead, he’s ready to embark on a new venture, Café 83 Catering, after he hosts the official grand opening of the restaurant on Saturday.

It was 1983 when then 28-year-old Hagy started North Coast Bearings on Root Road. He worked hard because he had a young family to support.

“I was peddling bearings out of my trunk and my basement,” Hagy explained June 4 from his stylish office in the rear of the Westminister Avenue building. “For the first time in my life, I had no health insurance. We were eating peanut butter sandwiches.”

A relatively minor illness at that time nearly cost him his life, he said, because he didn’t seek treatment due to his insurance situation. That experience led him to change his habits in a major way.

“I was a workaholic,” Hagy said. “But then I started running on Root Road. Three months after that, I ran my first marathon.”

He has run 90 more, with his ultimate objective in sight.

“My goal is to run 100,” he said, sporting a grin. “I’m always in the top 10 percent in my age group. I’m not fast, but I’m steady.”

Running became his passion, leading to his coordination of racing events such as Celebrate Westlake and Avon’s Eagle Run. The Avon resident points to his past as

motivation for the future.

“I had nothing growing up … and I love helping people,” Hagy said. “That gets me more excited than anything.”

During his decades in the business world prior to starting GreenQuest Group a few years ago (the company under which Café 83 operates), he cultivated alliances with corporate powerhouses like The Timken Company. He was so successful, he had several distribution centers located across the United States. After he gave up the bearings company, he didn’t quite know where the future would take him.

“When I sold North Coast Bearings, I went crazy for the first six months,” he admitted. “I didn’t have a business … and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant business. My wife and I took a piece of paper and wrote down what (foods) we like when we go out. It’s simple.”

But he relied on others to show him the way.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I surround myself with smart people,” Hagy said. “(My employees) are the key. They’re all part of the team; they run the show. That’s what drives me. I like to see people getting ahead.

“I don’t care about money … I’ve created 20 jobs here. What I’ve done has created

excitement here.”

His menu avoids the evils of preservatives, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. The food philosophy he

devised – which may be found on the menu – fits his running lifestyle: “Your meal should fuel you up, not slow you down.”

“I’ve come back to my roots,” he said. “I bought the building a year ago. I like people happy; there’s too much sadness in this world.”

He plans to spread that happiness by donating money to a yet undetermined North Ridgeville charity and also by hosting a free Thanksgiving meal. He said he looks forward to meeting the community at Saturday’s grand opening celebration (see sidebar, above).

Hagy is a man whose walking, and running, shoes never seem to be at rest, and he likes it that way.

“You’ve got to stay active,” he said. “It keeps a clear mind and a healthy body.”

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