RUSH CENTER — Greg Patterson is a busy guy.
When he’s not closing an oil and gas lease, he spends time managing Greg’s Sports Pub & Grub in Rush Center.
“I’m very much a hands-on owner at the restaurant,” he said. “I do everything from helping with dishes at lunch and helping up front with customers. I enjoy doing the cooking Friday and Saturday. I’m definitely an active owner. Our place has a local small-town local feel to it.”
Purple became a popular color in the Patterson family after their father and uncle played sports at the University of Kansas.
The Keith Patterson family grew up cheering for Kansas State’s football team, where Greg’s brother, Gary Patterson, was a linebacker for K-State’s first bowl team in 1982. Gary Patterson coached at Kansas State before spending the past 15 years coaching at Texas Christian.
Visitors can’t miss the “Purple Palace,” painted in purple on the outside of Greg’s Pub. The inside features purple chairs and seats, memorabilia celebrating Kansas State and Texas Christian University, and a purple pool table.
Greg’s Sports Pub & Grub is a family-owned business venture that serves Rush County and nearby counties. Rush Center is five miles from La Crosse, 20 miles from Otis, 25 miles from Rozel and 30 miles from Larned.
“We pull customers in from Hays and Great Bend,” Greg said.
Patterson’s family members, Tonya Patterson and a daughter, Tessa Patterson, keep a lively conversation going between mother and daughter at the restaurant. Another daughter, Kayla Long, works when she’s free from a teaching position at Phinney Elementary School in Larned.
“Everybody helps each other out,” Tessa said. “We pretty much know what everyone is supposed to do. We have a good time at work.”
The grill is open from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. and 4 to 8:45 p.m. during the week; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
“We’ve built a pretty good lunch menu with specials every day,” Greg said. “Fridays and Saturdays, we have steak specials with flat-iron streaks, rib-eye steaks and KC strips.”
Gerald Marvin is the chief cook and Mary Lewis serves as a waitress. Greg’s Pub & Grub also employs several high school-age students.
“It’s really neat to see high school students who understand how to work, and I expect a lot out of them,” Greg said. “We are teaching them a solid work ethic that they will keep the rest of their lives. They learn the fast-food business from the ground up.”
Ben E. Keith, is Greg’s Pub & Grub food distributor. Ben E. Keith’s home base is Fort Worth, Texas, home of the TCU Horned Frogs.
Greg and Gary were raised by parents who taught them a tireless work ethic. Greg worked as the Larned Correctional Facility from 1992 to 2004 and left after being a shift lieutenant.
“We owe everything to our parents, Keith and Gail, who taught us how to work hard and get the job done,” Greg said. “My employees know how to work hard, and we treat them really well. They treat our customers well.”
Greg said he’s always enjoyed his work securing leases and brokering oil and gas transactions. He works territory in Rush, Pawnee, Barton, Ness, Edwards, Ellsworth, Hodgeman, Rooks and Stafford counties.
“Leasing ground has become more popular and I’ve grown up with the oil and gas business,” he said. “I enjoy talking to people and making sure everyone gets a good deal. People know they are going to get a fair price.”
Greg’s favorite season is football weekends, where his three televisions are busy watching college and professional football. About the only rule is when TCU is playing football, all three televisions will air the TCU game.
“I knew Gary would be successful because he runs his football program like he was raised,” Greg said. “Everyone works hard and everyone will be held responsible for what they do every day. He holds his players accountable.”
Greg said he typically will attend four or five Texas Christian football games and buys season tickets to home games. One of Greg’s favorite trips was TCU’s 2011 Rose Bowl victory. TCU defeated Wisconsin 21-19 to finish ranked second.
“Gary has donated several items for our walls,” Greg said. “The Rose Bowl was my favorite bwol trip. But TCU has a neat football atmosphere with a top-notch facility.”
Featured items include a Kansas State light, a Wildcat helmet, and a TCU helmet and a framed, autographed picture of Patterson’s brother. Pennant are shown for the Big 12 schools. High school jerseys and helmets for La Crosse, Otis-Bison and Pawnee Heights.
An autographed football and framed picture features Nolan Cromwell, who starred at Logan and Ransom before moving on to play quarterback at University of Kansas and defensive back in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams.
Greg and Gary Patterson graduated from Pawnee Heights High School, where their uncle Ray Patterson was a longtime school superintendent. Their father, Keith Patterson, played football at KU. Another uncle, Hal Patterson, is a Canadian football Hall of Famer who played football, basketball and baseball at the University of Kansas. Hal played for the Jayhawks’ NCAA basketball runner-up in 1953.