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Article Written For Our Iowa
By Lynn Betts
Strawberry Shortcake Deluxe
DREW CUSTOMERS FROM NEAR AND FAR––STILL DOES!
The Junction’s large strawberry shortcake, featuring soft-serve ice cream,
built the business years ago as a daily give-away. It’s still a favorite
Homemade ham balls, the old-fashioned chicken
platter, the Junction burger and the Friday night fish fry are all favorites
at the Junction Café. But what really makes people’s mouths water is the
large strawberry shortcake, the dessert that launched and built Everett and
Betty Lee’s restaurant business.
“Betty was laid off from her
sewing job. I was selling feed, but I could see that business was changing,
too. So we thought we could take advantage of the restaurant experience we
both had and bought the restaurant in 1992,” Everett says.
Their small café at the junction of highways 2 and 148 on
the north side of Bedford struggled and lost money the first year. “We
broke even the second year, then made money the third, and things have
been going well after that,” Everett says.
Their success is
due in no small part to strawberry shortcake. “We sold our first large
strawberry shortcake heaped with soft serve ice cream on Memorial Day in
1993––sold 72 of them that day,” Betty says.
HEAPIN’ SHORTCAKE ‘N HORSES
Everett and Betty Lee get accolades for both of ‘em.
So the two took their strawberry shortcake to the radio airwaves. “KMA radio
wanted to test where their listeners were, and we wanted to draw customers
from southwest Iowa. So we came up with the idea of announcing a winner of a
free strawberry shortcake every day on KMA radio. We did that for three
years, and people came from all over to get their free strawberry
shortcake,” Everett says.
See them coming and going
The couple remembers one farm wife from Harlan, 85 miles
away, who drove the distance for that free delicious dessert. They became
friends and she made return trips, like many other people have done
through the years. “We see local friends and customers every day, but
we’ve also made friends with people from up north who stop by on their way
to and from Kansas City, deer hunters who come every year, and friends who
come back to the Bedford area for Memorial Day. Those people we see maybe
only once a year, but always we look forward to seeing them,” Everett
That down-home friendliness shows up at the tables in
the restaurant, too. “If we’re busy, and two people are sitting at a table
for four, it’s customary here for us to ask the two people waiting and the
two already seated if they mind sitting together,” Betty says. “Most of the
time, they don’t mind, and they make new friends.”
The home-made daily specials always come with real
potatoes peeled and mashed fresh each day, and home-made beef or sausage
gravy. All sides, like the three bean and pea salads, and fluff salads and
bread pudding, are home-made. So are the biscuits and short bread, and a
lot of the pies. They grind their coffee fresh, and Betty makes the ham
balls––a Sunday noon favorite––and home-made beef or chicken noodles. Her
shortcake recipe is the same as it’s been from day one.
patties in the 6-ounce Junction Burger, a crowd favorite, are formed by
hand. It’s sold with a half pound of French fries on a big toasted bun with
pickles, tomato, lettuce, cheese and onion all day long, seven days a week.
“We’re not stingy with our food, so most of the time we’ll
hear our customers say they’re full. We might make our portions too large,
but I want to be sure the hungry working people are satisfied,” Everett
says. There’s a lot of take-home, and some people will order an extra bun
and make two sandwiches from the popular breaded and grilled tenderloin
A MOUTH-WATERING FAVORITE
The old-fashioned chicken platter has a breaded chicken breast
and two homemade biscuits under homemade sausage gravy.
Their Friday night fish fry, with Alaskan Pollock, Gulf shrimp, or chicken
strips and other fixins’ competes with Betty’s ham balls at noon on Sundays
in drawing people from miles around. The Monday and Tuesday night special,
an old-fashioned chicken platter with breaded chicken breast and two
homemade biscuits under homemade sausage gravy, is also a draw.
But some people like the spaghetti on Wednesday, and
others like Old West night on Thursday.
“I like to eat, and
I like to come up with new things to eat. I invent the meal, but don’t cook
it,” Everett says. “And it makes a difference what you call it. We’ve got a
fried bread here we call cowboy bread. It’s really Indian bread, but we have
more cowboys come in so we call it cowboy bread,” he grins.
Everett credits the success of the restaurant to good food and good help.
“We have more than 20 employees, and most have been with us for a long time.
We have top-notch help here, from cooks to servers. Some who are working
here are kids who talked their folks into eating here so they could get a
free kid’s ice cream cone,” Everett says. “That was at a time when a friend
told me we were known as a restaurant for old people. So we added 10 new
kid’s menus, and gave that free ice cream cone away.”
Junction Café has come a long way since Everett and Betty supported the
business early on by selling horses and Simmental bulls. “We have a small
building out back now with our restaurant freezers and a walk-in cooler,”
Everett says. “That’s a lot handier than back when we had 14 freezers in the
basement of our home and I had to bring food to the restaurant every day in
Home cooked food and strawberry shortcake are the calling
cards for the Junction Café.
Click here to read
an article from KMA Broadcasting in 2011!
Please feel free to
contact us if you have any questions or comments:
Rockin' Diamond Quarter Horses
Everette and Betty Lee
2025 State Highway 2
Bedford, Iowa 50833
(712) 523-2282 email@example.com
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