Fork in the Road: One Topeka restaurant a family tradition

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - One Topeka restaurant has been in business for nearly 60 years, and continues to serve up delicious food to hundreds of customers a day.

“My grandpa opened up in 1961 and he’s the one with the idea of the pork tender. I don’t know where he got it. I think he saw it at the fair or something, and hand made fresh curlie-que fries. That was our calling card when he first opened in 61. And he had other restaurants before that. Then my mom and dad come along, which my other right here, and they came along in 73 and just expand it,” said third generation owner of the Pad, Troy Mentzer.

And the pork tenderloin at The Pad is the signature sandwich. But what makes it so special?

“Lenard Meat Company, right over here in north Topeka, and they’ve been bringing us our hamburgers, which aren’t frozen, and of course pork tenders which are not frozen, for 30 years,” explained Mentzer.

Add in a special breading, a dip in the fryer, and it comes out perfectly brown and hot. Of curse you can’t forget all the fixn’s and delicious sides.

“It is the biggest, crispest pork tender that you can get in town. Just hands down the best,” said one customer.

But the other thing that makes The Pad standout is the fact that it’s been in the family for so long. The restaurant was opened in 1961 by Mentzer’s grandfather. Then in the mid 1970’s, Rosemary Mentzer and her husband took over. Before selling it to Troy in 2000, they said they had to keep the family tradition going.

“When people come in, you’re coming into our house. So you get ready to take care of those 500 people like you do if they come into your house. Its gotta be clean. You gotta make sure that the foods right, and your hospitality,” said Rosemary.

And those traditions have been bringing people back year after year.

“We've been doing here for at least 15 years. I came here when it was smaller one out front. When you just walked up to the window and grabbed your food and left,” said customer Michael Reece.

“We’ve got 150 years of experience. We know what half of them are going to order before they even order. There’s nobody who can do what we do, as quick as we can,” said Mentzer.

He says his kids have also helped at the restaurant over the years, and hopes one day they will take over when he retires.