Truth be told, I never went to the old Stoby’s in Conway before it burned down, and thus, have no sentimental feelings attached to the restaurant. I hadn’t lived in the area long enough to appreciate the history behind the place, and, for that matter, the iconic Stoby’s cheese dip.
But, since the fire, I’ve become friends with co-owner Patti Stobaugh, and I know for a fact how much she and her husband, David, have been through to get the restaurant literally back up and running.
After 17 months of meetings, planning, construction, and training, Stoby’s is set to reopen this week.
The new space, located in the same parking lot as the previous building, is bright and beautiful, but with an eye towards embracing the rich history of Stoby’s. Changes include two separate dining rooms, a meeting room for up to 10 people, an eating bar that holds 5, a dog-friendly outdoor patio big enough for 30, two easily accessible bathrooms, and a kitchen that’s bigger than the entire old Stoby’s.
“The hardest part of rebuilding was how to retain the coziness of the old Stoby’s, while doubling the space. How to design the decor to keep all of our customers comfortable – the folks in dirty work boots need to eat too! Our insurance company paid all employees for 60 days & our core group of 14 employees for a year. That ended 3/19/17. David and I needed (and wanted) our core group to stay together in order to reopen. Our employees are family to us. Keeping them paid since March has been a bit painful, but we survived it,” says Patti Stobaugh.
From the looks of it, mission accomplished. The interior is gorgeous and inviting, with walls adorned with local art and murals paying tribute to the former Stoby’s. Heck, even the old sign is proudly displayed in plain sight as you walk through the front door.
The landscaping around the exterior is still coming along and the drive-thru will be closed for the first two weeks after reopening.
As far as the menu is concerned, Stoby’s is opening with the basics, and after the drive thru opens, 12 sandwiches and entrees will be added to the mix. The plan is to serve breakfast all day.
Folks in Conway are just glad Stoby’s is back.
1310 Prince Street
Hours: Monday-Saturday 6am-10pm; Closed Sunday