SUSANK — Co-owner Dixie Clarke prefers to keep things simple.
From the menu to the decor at JD’s Diner, LLC, simpler is better.
Her hungry customers agree, ordering a typical lunch of hamburgers and fries, which have quickly gained approval. JD’s Diner is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday while Dixie and her staff become accustomed to running a restaurant.
The reasonably-priced menu is simple — cheeseburgers, chicken strips, steak fingers, ham and cheese, turkey and a few salads.
The first day, six tables were filled with customers that kept two part-time employees busy.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but the response by the local support has been exceptional,” Dixie said. “We see familiar faces every day because they are repeat customers. It looks like they like what we’re doing so far.”
Dixie said the majority of the orders are cheeseburgers, fries and tea.
“We’re getting good reviews on the fries,” she said.
Dixie said she learned the fast-food business working at Great Bend’s A&W, doing every job starting with dishwasher.
“I can check running my own restaurant off my list because this is something I have always wanted to do,” she said. “It’s been fun and the customers have made it enjoyable. We learn something new every day.”
Expansion of the menu and dinner hours is expected in the near future.
Reopening a local eatery is big news for tiny Susank, which has been without a restaurant for several months. Don and Dixie Clarke purchased the former FlyOver Cafe earlier this year in an auction by owner Mike Hickel. The restaurant is located at 201 Main, (620) 653-4007.
The biggest surprise was the Clarkes were unable to own a liquor license to sell beer.
A longtime Susank ordinance required liquor licenses to be issued only to Susank residents.
“But the city council was very helpful and changed the ordinance to make that happen,” Don said. “I think we celebrated with a beer.”
Don said the trickiest task was finishing up legal work. Their daughter, Christy (Clarke) Tustin, who graduated from Washburn University’s law school, provided valuable legal advice. Tustin is director of the Golden Belt Community Foundation.
“We spent a lot of time getting the place in shape, repainting things and cleaning,” he said. “We had to put in a new roof. There was a lot of painting and general upkeep.”
The Clarkes owned and operated Johnson Electric for 30 years at 10th and Morton in Great Bend. They also own Riverside Stables, which boards and trains horses. They still maintain a small ranch operation, which raises hay.
The FlyOver cafe was closed earlier this year when the previous owners died in a tragic murder/suicide in Barton County.