Above: The Alley Cafe recently began a new chapter with a new owner. Front row from left, Mara Figueroa, Kammie Guest, Christine Frische, Evelyn Zamarripa and Lydia Torres. Back from left, David King, Savanna Hamby and Yolanda Avalos.

Christine Frische’s smile is as bright as the sunshine that streams into the Alley Café — even after a full day of baking, waiting on customers, cleaning tables and the dozen other jobs that need to be done to keep the energy flowing at the upbeat café.

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Frische is into her third week of ownership of the Alley Café, but she knows its rhythm after working there for three years. She bought the business from Mary Lynn Garth, who opened the café about 15 years ago.

“I’ve always loved this place, and when I found out Mary Lynn was selling it, I knew I wanted to buy it,” Frische said. “I love the café’s movement, the people I work with and the customers. It has such a great atmosphere.”

The Alley Café is located at 102 E. 7th St., situated in part of the former Phillips and Son store, a Dumas institution that was in business about 90 years. A light menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, a hot plate and the signature homemade deserts reflects the café’s airy and comfortable décor. Tables that give diners plenty of elbowroom match each other only in their contributions to the laidback atmosphere. None of them are alike, which makes the Alley Café even more fun.

“The customers like us, and we like them,” said David King, who has worked at the café almost a year. “We have a lot of fun here, and the customers pick up on that.”

Frische’s day at the café begins at 6 a.m., she said. There’s quite a bit of baking to do each day to keep up with its reputation for providing some of the best homemade desserts in the county.

“I bake two pecan pies, two coconut creams and a chocolate cake,” Frische said.

Every day?

“Every day,” she said.”

The Alley Café is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

“We have great food, and we have a lot of fun serving it,” Frische said.