Diane Barker of Diane’s Dream Cakes is serving up steaks, cakes and a whole lot more at B&B Steakhouse, 400 East Shannon Road, the location of the old K-Bob’s restaurant.
Serving up steaks, cakes and a whole lot more, B&B Steakhouse owner Diane Barker of Diane’s Dream Cakes takes just as much pride in quality cuts of certified Angus beef as she does her confections of perfection that have kept her in business for more than 30 years.
“I wanted the bakery out of the house, to have a place where customers could come at regular times to pick up cakes or order them – what better place than a restaurant that has been around for a 100 years?” said Barker referring to the old K-Bob’s location at 400 East Shannon Road.
Barker purchased the well-established restaurant in January 2008, and by Feb. 1, nothing pertaining to the old franchise could remain according to the contract.
“We had to get rid of everything that was even similar to K-Bob’s within 24 hours,” Barker explained. “The menu, the sign – you take out the ‘K,’ the ‘O’ and the ‘S,’ and you have B&B. It was nice that my last name was Barker, ‘cause it kind of fit at least.”
According to Barker, purchasing such a large establishment was not her original plan, but somehow things just fell into place.
“No, this is not really what I was looking for,” she admitted. “My vision was a small café-type [place]; something me and a couple of employees could run. This is way bigger than what I ever really wanted, but things just kind of fell together.”
The irony of it all, according to Barker, is that she was born in Clovis, N.M., where K-Bob’s originated. She remembers it as the first restaurant her father ever took the family to.
She was raised on a cattle ranch, and therefore knows her steak.
“We raised the cattle that went to the stockyards to become the beef you eat in the restaurants,” she said with a laugh. “Eight percent of Angus is qualified to be certified. It has to meet a lot of certain requirements in order to be certified Angus.”
She also knows about the various cuts of meat, marbling and the aging process.
“I know that good meat hangs for 21 days before you ever even cut it,” Barker said. “There is just something about a good, aged steak. The flavor is just so different.
“And being raised on a cattle ranch, I know how to cook a steak,” she added with a chuckle.
Barker said B&B steaks are cooked slowly over an open flame, not over a roaring fire.
“Our steaks are cooked over a low heat. That way all the juices stay in,” she emphasized. “People don’t want a tough piece of steak, especially when they’re paying a good dollar for it. I’m not saying we’re over-priced. You compare it to what you pay at the store, probably $10 a pound, and it is not near the quality of meat you’re going to get here.”
Quality steak isn’t the only quality food you’ll find on the menu.
“If you don’t want steak, we have a wide variety of foods to choose from,” Barker said.
A garden-fresh salad bar is always available, as well as burgers, chicken selections, Mexican and seafood.
A variety of side dishes are new to the menu as are sandwiches such as Reuben’s, BLT’s, pattie melts and barbecue.
Also new to the menu is a full array of appetizers like fried green beans, Texas toothpicks, stuffed jalapenos and mozzarella cheese sticks.
B&B Steakhouse is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a daily buffet served until 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“The buffet is good during the week when people come in for lunch and are in a hurry. But I’ve taken away the buffet at night because people weren’t eating it. I think we may actually be taken seriously as a steakhouse, now,” said Barker.
Friday night is all-you-can-eat catfish fresh from the kitchen. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. regular catfish, spicy fried catfish, fried potatoes, hushpuppies and coleslaw or red beans may be purchased for $9.99, Barker reminded.
Sunday, an all-day buffet of home-style comfort meals can be enjoyed by customers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s like going to Grandma’s,” said Barker, who does 90 percent of the cooking herself. “I know I’m not going to get rich with a steakhouse, but I love cooking – I love what I do. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and I want anything associated with my name, whether steaks or cakes, to have the reputation for being good. I want it to be a good, quality place people want to come back to.”
According to Barker, Diane’s Dream Cakes was built on repeat customers due to high quality and top-notch service that she provides.
“Repeat business is how I built Dream Cakes and its how I will build B&B, one person at a time. And, then they’ll tell one person,” she explained. “I could spend a fortune on advertising, but it doesn’t do half the good as one birthday party.”
The advantage of the steakhouse, according to Barker, is that it has three party rooms off the main dining room that are great for receptions, reunions, showers, birthdays and other events.
“I’m not even charging for the use of the rooms,” Barker expressed. “They don’t even have to get their cake here.
“I’d prefer it if they did,” she added with a laugh.
Barker believes if she can just get people into the restaurant to experience the differences that have been made, customers will find great food, well-trained staff and a clean, cozy environment.
“I just invite everyone in to see the changes that have been made,” Barker emphasized. “I feel like if they come in and see that it is not the old K-Bob’s anymore, give them good hospitality and good food, then they will be back. Whether it’s our little two inch mini-burgers, or a 16-ounce ribeye or T-bone, it’s always gonna be good. And if it’s not exactly right, I take enough pride in my work that I’m going to make it right one way or the other. The customer pays our paycheck. The customer is always right and I want them treated like kings and queens.”Over the next several months, the News-Telegram will feature local restaurants and the people who run them.