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— Throw out everything you have ever heard about skinny cooks.

“My size has nothing to do with my ability,” Leslie Doyle, owner of the Korner Kafe in Gateway, said.

The restaurant that boasts “home cookin’ at its best” has been open under Doyle’s operation for a little over six months.

She was previously a homemaker, raising children and grandchildren for 10 years and fine tuning her cooking skills.

“At my age, I didn’t think anyone would hire me to wait tables, so I decided to do it for myself,” she said.

The cafe is in the building that used to house R.C.’s Hillbilly Cafe. An oversized painted bunnyonce marked the location, the building is still known to locals as “the bunny.”

“People still say ‘meet ya at the bunny’,” said Carman Hooper, Doyle’s daughter who also works at the cafe.

Doyle purchased the building, cleaned it up and remodeled the kitchen completely.

Aside from a short stint in Arizona, Doyle’s life has been spent here in the Ozarks. She and her family reside in Gateway, she grew up in Rogers and graduated from Rogers High School. Her two grown daughters work at the cafe, and she has six grandchildren.

“It really is family owned and operated,” she said.

“It’s rewarding (having my own business). I never liked the thought of someone going awayfrom my table without getting enough to eat,” she said. “None of it overwhelms me, I still get excited when people come in.”

Doyle makes everything from scratch. She bakes bread everyday, whether it be for rolls, buns or sandwiches. She peels, cuts and boils potatoes everyday for the mashed potatoes.

“I don’t buy anything prebreaded, I don’t do frozen lasagna, I make the sauce and everything. I can’t think of anything I don’t make myself,” she said. “I’m best at cooking breakfast, but maybe best isn’t the right word because people might think my lunch isn’t as good. I enjoy cooking breakfast the most.”

The most requested meal she said is a tie between chicken fried steak and liver and onions.

“I just closed my eyes years agoand tried to remember my Nanny’s chicken and rolled dumplings and then came up with my own,” she said. “I do things the way I would fix it for my family.”

Doyle offers free coffee with breakfast from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

and a daily lunch special. The cafe also has homemade pies, fudge, peanut brittle and divinity.

“I had a convoy of five cars drive over from Oklahoma to have pie. We were closed and only had one piece left, but they each took a fork and shared it,” she said.

“We have never not had more than one piece since then,” Hooper said.

The cafe is currently taking orders for holiday pies, they will be making them up until Dec.

23. Doyle said customers should allow 48 hours notice, as they are full of requests. Hooper said she baked 19 pies in one day for Thanksgiving. They will also accept any recipe and make pies to order.

The cafe is also open Friday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and offers pan fried chicken.

“It’s hand battered and fried in a skillet,” she said.

“I would like to do more evenings. When business is there and warrants it, I will.”

For now, Doyle offers her homecooking from 6 a.m.

to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday. The Korner Kafe is located just west of the intersection of Arkansas Highway 62 and Missouri Highway 37 in Gateway.

News, Pages 1 on 12/16/2009

Print Headline: Skinny cook brings home cooking to Gateway

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