Barb and Terry Revels recently purchased the former Holvy’s Restaurant for the very best of reasons. They both enjoy cooking. One look at their menu also brings to mind another reason…they both also enjoy eating good, tasty food.
Although Terry has been employed by the City of Hillsboro Public Works Department for a number of years, Barb has a restaurant background of cooking and waitressing, in addition to enjoying working with people in a public setting.
Both have plenty of experience in the kitchen, and Terry claims that the Food Network is among his favorites on television.
Other than a beautiful new sign above the entrance on Water Ave., nothing much has changed since they purchased the business from Bruce and Sandy Holverson on Nov. 7. In fact, if you walked back into the kitchen, you would expect to see Bruce cooking a big order of bacon and eggs on the grill, and considering the fact that Bruce and Sandy will be helping with the transition for a few weeks, that actually could happen.
Don’t be fooled by familiar surroundings, however, because the new owners have plenty of ideas and just need a little time to establish them, including some major changes in decor and even menu additions to some extent.
Of course, going all the way back to Country Style Cookin’, the restaurant has been known for starting from scratch in food preparation, leading to a great reputation for homemade taste and freshness.
Leading the list is five kinds of homemade bread, white, wheat, sourdough, rye, and raison, baked fresh every morning at 5:30 a.m., when the cook arrives at work. French bread may also join the selections. All meals are served with the homemade bread of the customer’s choice.
Right after the oven is full of bread, pounds of fresh potatoes are cut up into different styles to be used that day. Customers enjoy more than 50 pounds of home-style potatoes every week.
Then the daily soup special is prepared along with the always-popular sheleke (chicken and dumpling), a traditional favorite with diners whether or not they are of Czech heritage.
None of this could be accomplished without the dedicated work of the regular employees, who have all stayed on with Barb and Terry.
Mary Jensen, the head cook, has worked at the restaurant for 37 years.
Jesse Thede, Jennie Mikal, and Jenele Zimmerman add a touch of friendly professionalism in part-time positions.
Another very popular tradition that is remaining is the fact that breakfast is served all day, for those who think eggs or pancakes shouldn’t be considered only morning food.
Most regular customers, including the legendary Hillsboro Breakfast Club and its honorary President R. Dale Jones, has been showing up at the usual time every morning and members continue to treat the place like a second home, even pouring their own coffee. Barb was delighted to report that the friendly group seems to be growing along with new customers at all times during the day.
Barbie’s Kitchen is open from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sundays.
The daily specials are planned a week ahead and posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page. That information is also available via e-mail if you sign up with your e-mail address. Barb and Terry’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
They also are developing a web site that will hopefully be used by travelers through a link with the City of Hillsboro web site.
Not to be overlooked in this success story is the many hours of help from Barb and Terry’s two sons, Dusty and Heath, along with their wives, Emily and Krista. All of them have pitched in to help with the changes whenever needed, a fact that is much appreciated by the proud parents.
Among some of the popular new ideas include the addition of local deliveries for lunch. Hungry folks who can’t get away from their desks or homes in Hillsboro can phone Barb at 489-3539 and request delivery of their order.
Carry-out meals are also still available and remain very popular.
In addition, Barbie’s Kitchen is happy to bake pies or other special desserts for home parties, but you have to call early enough to allow time for them to prepare it.
The back conference room is available for special parties or meetings. Just call Barb and make a reservation.
With all it takes to operate a popular restaurant, it sounds sort of silly to report spare time activities, but somehow Barb and Terry find the time to enjoy cruises and riding Harley motorcycles on the weekends.
They also own a 1950s Ford Truck that they put into shows and dress up in 50s clothes for the occasion.
Barb is also a sales representative for Longaberger Baskets and Pottery.
The partners in business and life, who both grew up in Hillsboro and love living and working in a small town, have good insight into their surroundings.
“One night a few weeks ago, we were doing some repair and cleaning work in the restaurant late on a Friday night,” Terry recalled. “The phone rang and the caller said, ‘We saw your lights on and wondered if you were having a fish fry?’
“Only in a small town!” the new business owner stated with a smile and a look of understanding on his face.