Posts Tagged Conway

Q to the A: Patti Stobaugh of Stoby’s & PattiCakes Bakery

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Patti Stobaugh gives us an update on Stoby’s in Conway, how she got into the food business, what to expect from her in the future, and even her three favorite movies.

What is your official title?
I’m the co-owner of Stoby’s and PattiCakes Bakery.

How much of your time is spent with PattiCakes and how much with Stoby’s?
Prior to THE fire, I’d say it was 95% PattiCakes and 5% Stoby’s. Now it is about 50/50.

How long has PattiCakes been around?
We first opened in Russellville (next to Stoby’s) on October 17, 2006. The Conway location opened on November 11, 2010. We sold the Russellville PattiCakes in June 2011.

You married into the food business, how was that transition at first?
I have always been a foodie, even before it was cool. That is one of the reasons David and I hit it off so well from day one. I was working as a corporate accountant at the time and really never liked the accounting field. The food business was a great diversion. When I quit my job, David had hoped I would take over our accounting. I really, really didn’t want to. It took a while to sort that out, but we finally did.

What’s some of the biggest challenges of running multiple restaurants?
Consistency

What’s a typical day for you look like?
This is the best part of the food business … no two days are the same! I am an early riser. It is when I do my best thinking. Supporting our community is a top priority. I am the one out more in public, while David is the behind the scene brains. Because we are in business together and we are empty nesters, it seems we work all the time. But we enjoy it.

What’s the strangest request you’ve received at the bakery?
Anatomically correct cakes. We don’t do them. Hearing some people attempt to describe what they want is the best part!

Regarding Stoby’s, you suffered a major fire and had to rebuild from the ground up … how has that gone and what can diners expect from the new Stoby’s?
In one word … slow! We never expected a total fire loss. Because Stoby’s was in a building that has primarily been a restaurant since the 1940’s and home to Stoby’s since 1980, it was a lovable dump. And I mean that in the kindest way possible. Bringing the restaurant up to 2016 standards, making it ADA compliant, complying with the requests made by the City of Conway, all took time during the design phase. Initially, we planned to rebuild exactly as it was, with the required updates. Our building is on the corner of Donaghey and Robinson, an intersection that is now quite busy. The city disallowed ten parking spaces that had cars backing into that busy intersection. We completely understand that decision. However, that was the first domino that fell regarding changes to be made. Our final design plan was to replicate the original dining room with an obvious addition. The end goal being if someone didn’t know we had suffered a fire loss, they would think we remodeled and added on. We will have twice as much dining space, more parking and you no longer will have to walk through the kitchen to use the restroom.

What is your ETA on Stoby’s re-opening?
Late summer 2017, hopefully sooner.

I gotta ask you about Stoby’s famous cheese dip … was it a hit from day one or did its popularity take a little time?
That was David’s invention. His desire was to make a mild enough cheese dip for children to get hooked on. Then the kids would bring their parents to eat at Stoby’s! It caught on immediately.

Outside of the rebuild, what are you looking to accomplish professionally in the next 2-3 years?
I would like to attend culinary school so that I understand the science of food. Although I come from a family of great cooks, I would like to understand the why behind what I’ve been taught by the important cooks in my formative years.

Now for some fun…

What’s your favorite movie?
I don’t have one. I have three … Chariots of Fire, The Intouchables and The Shawshank Redemption.

What are you five favorite restaurants in Little Rock?
The Pantry, South on Main, The Fold, Samantha’s and Trio’s

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Paula Deen. She is a hot mess.

If you could go to any concert, who would it be and who would you take?
Tina Turner with my hubs. If he didn’t want to go, I would go with my only friend that would sing louder than me, Beckye Ezell.

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Permanent Location for Food Trucks? That’s the Question in Little Rock

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Daniel Walker and I recently partook in a food tour of NWA. Our other buddy, Alex, a current Fayetteville resident, drove us around town this past Saturday. We ended up dining at places like Arsaga’s, Herman’s, KJ’s, The Greenhouse Grille, Bouchee, A Taste of Thai, and a few others. Overall, we were all impressed with most of the restaurants on our list, and that also included stops the next day up in Bentonville at Tusk & Trotter and Pressroom.

But one thing stood out about the weekend more than any other … the food trucks.

We stopped at Yacht Club on College, a collection of 5-6 food trucks/trailers in an unassuming parking lot in the heart of Fayetteville. It wasn’t a big area, but it was done right. You had a place to park, tables and chairs to sit and eat, and just the right amount of eclectic food options to pique your interest.

And the best part? The food was very good … like the creative take on a mango/jalapeno cupcake, a tasty fried avocado taco, and a delicious Cuban sandwich.

As we drove through Bentonville the next day, we were also surprised by the number of permanent food trailers residing along high traffic streets. In years past, I hadn’t noticed these trailers in Bentonville, which indicates mobile eateries are being embraced in NWA. This also seems to be the case in Central Arkansas where the recent addition of a food truck park in Conway has helped elevate the food scene. Even North Little Rock has started embracing food trucks.

So what about Little Rock? We have a number of meet-ups throughout each month and even a food truck festival that rivals that of many bigger cities. But why isn’t there a permanent location for our food trucks? I’ve heard talk of it in the past, but with no real progress toward making something happen. Why is that? Does the public even want such a thing? Would we support it? Where would we put it? Are our current trucks even interested in this set-up? Are laws preventing action?

I’m honestly not sure of the answers. But to me, Little Rock is the perfect size and ideal climate for a food truck to flourish pretty much year-round, assuming that it’s generating consistent, quality, and creative food.

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Around Town: The Pie Hole is Ready to Roll

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The Pie Hole, the former Fayetteville pie truck turned Little Rock mobile eatery, is now officially open for business. “Right now, I’m planning on being at this Saturday’s Hillcrest Farmers Market and then tentatively planning on being at the Westover Farmers Market on Tuesday and then the Westover Wednesday Food Truck Meet-Up,” said owner Lauren Harrison.

The tentative plan, which is subject to change given customer desire, is for the truck to carry 3-4 types of pies at a time, plus one savory pie (quiche or pot pie). The truck will serve pie by the slice to walk-up customers and offer whole pie orders with a two-day advance notice.

Customers should expect a variety of pies, including some of Harrison’s more popular ones, including: coconut cream, oatmeal cream pies with scratch-made marshmallow fluff filling, and chicken pot pie.

And while Harrison is still working on future locations, expect to see The Pie Hole at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, Good Earth Garden Center, Westover Hills Farmers Market and the Westover Wednesday Food Truck Meet-Up.

“My husband is from Hot Springs and I went to college at Hendrix in Conway, so we’re excited to be back in Central Arkansas. Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive of The Pie Hole truck,” said Harrison. She continued, “Before we moved here, I didn’t realize what a thriving food scene Little Rock has. I can’t wait to be a part of it, especially as a food truck. I’m excited to utilize all of the fresh produce from the local farmers to make made-from-scratch pies and quiches. I’m looking forward to making pie for the people of Little Rock!”

We are too.

*Photo courtesy of The Pie Hole

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