Fork in the Road: Dover cafe a "crust" above the rest

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DOVER, Kan. (WIBW) Nobody worries when they see smoke coming from the back at Sommerset Hall Cafe in Dover.

The regulars know it's not a grease fire, or something left in the oven too long -- it's the rubber burning off Berneta Shults' shoes.

"We all know her habits, so we give her the right away,” said the diner’s manager Linda Grist.

Berneta has one job, and some would say it's the hardest of them all based on the famous footsteps she had to follow. She bakes the pies.

"Norma Grubb, a little lady that lived around here for years put Dover on the map by winning a national pie contests through Good Morning America," said to rural Dover resident Wayne Lukert.

That was back in 2008. Ten years later, the Somerset Hall Café is still just as well known for their pies today as they were back then, because of one thing. The crust.

It’s a recipe Berneta says is such a secret, it isn’t even written down.
"I probably won't ever give it up. Probably not," said Shults.

Much to the relief of anyone who has ever had one of Berneta's pies, she's showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

Berneta somehow makes more than 1,000 pies per year on just a part-time schedule. What makes that number more impressive is that she makes just about all 36 varieties that Sommerset Hall Cafe offers without the help of recipes cards, timers, and even any assistance, even during the holiday rush.

"She'd be the best grandma to ever have, and she loves it down here. I've asked her if she wants to slow down but she doesn't want to. I think that's why she get's up in the morning -- it's to bake and people love it," said Shayne Coursen, who owns the diner with his wife Tammi.

Berneta has just the touch that keeps regulars like Doug and Marikay Peterrman coming back for more, finding any reason at all to make the trip down the scenic K-4 byway into Dover.

"We eat the rest of the food as well, it's very good, but we come for the pie," said Doug Peterman.

The Sommerset Hall Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays for breakfast, lunch, and pie. They also serve a buffet from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every Friday night.

Grist told 13 NEWS that people tend to start filing in around 3:30 p.m. the first and third Friday evenings of the month, which is Fried Chicken night.