From The Deck


YES!!! Another avenue to un-package my enthusiasm! Now hold on, when I write a blog post on here it is going to come off the keyboard just like I talk, with punctuation and grammar according to my vibe and energy. I don't like boundaries and this can get me into a pickle sometimes so if you are here to read what happens on my brainwaves, put your "tennis match" sunglasses on and oil up your neck for the back and forth, undulating rythem, rythm, rhythm -(thats it) of my thoughts.

So now, let me introduce the Matt who is the co-owner of Harold's Koffee House..with my mom.. Nancy.

First, a quick rundown of the family..

The Harold of Harold's Koffee House had 6 kids with his wife Pauline (gosh she was darling) All of Harold's kids had a giant part in running the restaurant throughout the years. Slowly, as they produced all of my excellent cousins, Harold's kids' found their way out of the business all except my mom, Nancy. After the deaths of grandpa and grandma, the dynamic changed at the Koffee House. We were still open from 6 am to 7:30 pm but there was only my Uncle Tom, my mom, and Aunt Judy around to run the restaurant.

Oh my gosh did we have some fun! My cousin Seth and I were cooks from the years 1989 - 1993. My sister Cele, my cousins Jessica, Erin, Becky (gosh I could go on and on) were often the waitresses that worked with Seth and I. Of course, there were other cousins, close friends and some old school "core" employees that had been there for 20 years. Looking back on it now, it really was the best of times, however, when you are in high school, working with your mom or sister or just working at all - seemed like a DRAG and a forced labor camp at times.

My cousins Seth and Erin crammed into a booth with Sadie and I.  Family fish fry 1997.

My cousins Seth and Erin crammed into a booth with Sadie and I. Family fish fry 1997.

In future blog posts, I will go back and reminisce about some of the wild things and happenings but for now, I want to summarize that era as the most bonding time that anyone can think of having with your own family-- I mean - truly a blessing, with wonderful and unique memories.

Back to how the heck I came to be the owner..

Ok, so my cousin Seth, graduated from high school a year before me, same with Cele and Jessica, etc. I worked there one more year with the next set of a younger family like my brother Andy, cousin Brandon, sister Jeanie and a few others. I mean, it all just worked- we all just worked, the family came together and always filled the spots!

Then I graduated, went off to UNK in Kearney, Nebraska not for the education but maybe for the adventure of it at first and with extreme gratitude to my parents! I quickly gravitated to a friend that hunted and fished. that led to a fraternity membership and boom, we started discovering the bounty of the outdoors that lies in central Nebraska!

I got a job at Bazooka Joe's 50's diner. I started off as a dishwasher there until they figured out that I really DID cook at a diner for 5 years.. I quickly became a kitchen manager which just meant that I was on call and in charge of the kitchen schedule and ordering. Then they found out that I could rock some breakfast and we changed our hours and I was the opener!!

Speed it up-- Bazooka Joe's closed, I transferred to a classy Prime Rib, Steakhouse place called the HABITAT. Worked there for a year until Red Lobster moved into town. I became the "Head Kitchen Guy" there and learned so much about systems and the finesse of food!! I loved the rhythm of a busy kitchen. My sophomore year I had met my dream chick who is now my wife and I fished and hunted my brains out. I swore I would never come back to Omaha. In 1998, my little brother Andy enrolled in UNK. I got to train him at Red Lobster and we were incredible work partners at Red Lobster.

I found out I was really good at Geography in school and I continued to get a Spanish Minor. Right place, right time, GPS (Global Positioning System) was relatively new technology available to civilians in 1998. GPS was also becoming an integral part of Natural Resources studies which obviously was my passion. I landed an internship in Holdrege, Ne planting trees, mapping irrigation wells with GPS and learning to be an adult among adults.

Using Survey Grade GPS to gather data for groundwater models.

Using Survey Grade GPS to gather data for groundwater models.

The final year of college, I was scooped up by the Central Platte NRD as a technician with a starting wage of $8.50 an hour with full benefits. I quit my job at Red Lobster, graduated and lived in a flea-infested rental with my black labrador right next to the three railroad tracks in Shelton, NE. -LOUD- My girlfriend Sadie was not impressed but there was an awesome pheasant hunting spot 3 miles away.

My ol Bizdog, Hunted with me 1994-2009

My ol Bizdog, Hunted with me 1994-2009

Sadie and I were married in 1999 and moved to Aurora, Ne where we stayed for 6 years. I climbed the ladder pretty quickly at the NRD and became a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) manager. I enjoyed my job so much, out in the field collecting data, getting muddy, participating in wildland fire and prescribed burns, and setting up the state's first Waterbanking System. By 2005 we moved to Grand Island, Ne and lived on a sandpit, Sadie had a job as a Realtor. Lake living is/was awesome! I was never going back to Omaha!!

My brother, my friend Nate and I crammed into the paddle boat.. Nice Crappie!

My brother, my friend Nate and I crammed into the paddle boat.. Nice Crappie!

Life was great!! In 2006 Sadie and I finally had a baby named Clay! Life was going along smoothly! BUT!! There was literally NO decent place to go and get a homemade cooked breakfast! I mean, when we visited Omaha, I gorged myself on the hashbrowns and gravy and pancakes, donuts, rolls all of the unique, cozy dishes at the Koffee House. I would volunteer to step in and cook eggs and help out when I came back. I would create breakfast and make my own breakfast meals on the spot.. How I missed it, the simple act of cooking in a big kitchen with a restaurant full of hungry people..

My cute Mom, Nancy- in the “built for short people” kitchen 2012. Destination Photo Shoot.

My cute Mom, Nancy- in the “built for short people” kitchen 2012. Destination Photo Shoot.

Stay tuned to read my next post of HOW I GOT BACK TO OMAHA..

Brandon Herbel