CALLAWAY - - Mickey Gavin has known for a long time that her son, Todd, is an excellent cook. Very soon the rest of the area will know that, too.
Mother and son are venturing in to a business together, and bringing a much-needed business back to Callaway. Triple T Steakhouse, formerly Doxees Steakhouse, will open on main street in Callaway Sept. 1 - just in time for the community’s annual Kite Flight celebration.
Todd and his siblings grew up in Callaway, and all graduated from Callaway High School; he in 1984. Mickey says the community was a wonderful place to raise her family and she is happy about now having a chance to give back.
When the children were young the family moved often, as Mickey’s husband was in the military. Callaway offered them a place to eventually settle down.
After high school, Todd attended one year at Kearney State College then took a job as sports editor at the Custer County Chief. He remained in that position for about a year before enrolling at Chadron State College.
While at Chadron he worked as sports editor for the Hot Springs Star in South Dakota. He remained there for a couple of years, but was always somewhat restless. He decided just to travel the country for awhile, living and working in various places.
Todd eventually landed in Georgia and went to work at Po Folks Restaurant. He had always liked to cook, and folks had told him he was pretty good at it. This restaurant job solidified that, and he knew he had found his calling.
He remained in Georgia for two and a half years, working his way up to a management position in the restaurant. Then in 1991, he returned to Nebraska just to visit his family - and he ended up staying here.
Since being back in Nebraska, Todd has worked in the food service industry in various locations in and around Custer County. When the opportunity arose to purchase the restaurant at a good price, Mickey was intrigued and convinced Todd to help her run the business. The rest, as they say, is history.
For the most part, the building only required some minor adjustments. Todd did not like the layout of the kitchen and has been busy rearranging that. Because of moving some things around he did have to replumb the kitchen. He also had to purchase a new compressor for the walk-in cooler, but the other refrigeration units just needed recharged.
The Gavins purchased a buffet table for the restaurant, as they plan to have buffet every Sunday. They will not serve a full menu that day; just the buffet and one or two “blue plate specials.”
The menu at Triple T Steakhouse will consist of what Todd calls “comfort foods” - several cuts of steaks, burgers, hot beef sandwiches and a variety of sandwiches, chicken fried steak, meat loaf, shrimp, fried and grilled chicken and many other items you would expect to find in a home-style restaurant. Todd also plans to serve prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights.
Todd says the menu may change a little in the early stages, as he learns what people want and don’t want. A full salad bar will be available every evening, and daily lunch specials will be offered Wednesday through Friday.
The restaurant will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
They are in the process of acquiring a liquor license, but Mickey says that is a very lengthy process and will likely be at least three or four months before the establishment is able to serve alcohol. Even then, Todd emphasizes they do not plan to be a bar.
“If you want a Jaeger bomb, we have a very fine bar next door,” Todd laughs. “We just want to have a friendly family-type atmosphere here.”
Mickey says Todd’s real ‘claim to fame’ in the kitchen is his baking.
“I didn’t think there was anyone who could bake dinner rolls as good as his grandmother’s, but Todd’s come real close,” she says with a smile.
A few months ago, the restaurant was in danger of never being operational again. After being listed for sale for a lengthy amount of time, and the price being dropped lower and lower, the owners were considering selling the building for parts.
This is when four area community members stepped in and purchased the building and its contents in hopes of being able to find a buyer. Robert Pitkin, Glen Miller and Bill Holt of Callaway, along with Don Olson of Arnold, rescued the business.
The gentlemen say they could have sold the equipment in the building and made a much larger profit, “but we wanted a steakhouse,” Pitkin told the Callaway Courier.
The investors did a lot of cleanup in the building before Gavins purchased it, as the previous owners had left town abruptly and left everything where it was. “There was still even food and drinks on the counter,” said Todd.
He and Mickey have spent the last several weeks deep cleaning as they prepare for opening day.
Todd says he believes good food and excellent customer service are top priorities, and ones he is confident will make Triple T Steakhouse a success.