FORK IN THE ROAD: A popular diner in Emporia is known for its hospitality and biscuits & gravy
More than a decade ago Janet and Dave Laird were ready to begin a new journey.
"I've been in the restaurant business all my life, and so I went to college to get out of the restaurant business. To be able to work in corporate America and get the benefits and what not,” Janet explained.
However a series of events led them to Commercial Street Diner, 614 Commercial St, in Downtown Emporia.
"Having more balls than brains I came in and talked to Linda and Roger and they were ready to sell,” Janet said.
Now they are the owners of the diner.
They kept the name, but changed the menu to make it their own.
They like to make sure no one leaves unsatisfied.
"You do get a lot of food. We've been in here when people have ordered like the chicken fried steak. Well it comes out on a regular dinner platter, just the chicken fried. Then there's another platter that has the potato and vegetables and all that kind of stuff and people kind of go huh?” longtime customer Roy Gallup said.
Some people have their favorites.
"The cheese omelet just cause it just has a lot of cheese,” Meghan Venable and employee at the diner said.
Another popular item on the menu is the hash browns.
"We got the secret to do the yummy hash browns. A lot of people like our hash browns,” Janet said.
There is one item in particular many are drawn to.
"Their biscuits and gravy has a sausage gravy and there's more sausage than there is gravy,” Roy said.
Janet said adding more sausage to the gravy was her mother’s idea.
"My mom told me just put some sausage in the gravy because a lot of places you go there's not a whole lot of sausage in there and we do put ample sausage in the gravy and that's one of our favorites,” she said.
However it’s not just the food that keeps people coming back. ]
"It's like the TV show 'Cheers' where you walk in and everybody knows your name,” longtime customer Mary Jo Gallup said.
Janet said their customers have become like family.
"We have people that come in every day. We have people that come in twice a day, or on the weekends or you know. You know when to expect them and then if they don't show up it's like oh what happened to so and so you know,” she said.
The menu and hospitality is talked about throughout town.
"This place was recommended by several different people as being the best place in town to eat,” a new customer, William Dragoo said.
Janet said she just wants everyone to feel comfortable when they come in.
"Just good old home cooked you know what your mama would feed you when you go home. And that's what we shoot for anyway,” she said.
The diner is open every day except Monday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.