At Pat’s Belle Pepper Cafe on US 80 at the east end of Longview, diners eat at least 10 pies a day. Chocolate and coconut pies covered with a thick layer of meringue. Pecan pie. Strawberry tart without sugar and others.
Mrs. Pigy, as she is called, is the longest-serving employee, working at the cash register and making the specialty strawberry pies. She’s worked at the US 80 location since it opened more than 11 years ago, but she also worked at owner Pat Blockers’ first restaurant. Pat’s Diner was behind Jason’s Deli for about five or six years.
“If I tell them her real name, she gets caught on me,” Blocker said of Ms Pigy.
People love the daily-fresh pies, but they also rave about the other dishes on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Daily specials include meatloaf, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, BBQ ribs, chicken spaghetti, a host of southern-style sides such as mashed potatoes ground, greens, peas, and macaroni and cheese, and a breakfast menu that includes pancakes for dinner compared to the popular pancakes at famed chain The Original Pancake House.
Today, in addition to its regular meal, the restaurant will host its last annual lunchtime Thanksgiving feast – at least at this location – with baked turkey breast, house dressing, green beans, homemade sweet potatoes and rolls, as well as regular menu items.
Blocker’s daughter, Cathy Page, owns RCB Gardens next to the cafe and bought the building with plans to renovate it and open a grocery store, Blocker said. Blocker said she planned to retire, but her employees want her to continue. It is waiting to find out if it will be able to open in a new location in the Brookwood Village shopping center on McCann Road in Longview.
“If that doesn’t happen, I’ll be working for my daughter doing all kinds of takeout,” she said, like soups, salads, chicken and dumplings, and other dishes only Blocker cafe kitchen. .
The restaurant is out of the way, but that hasn’t affected its popularity, Blocker said.
“We are very busy. Whenever an individual can stay in business – five years in the other (restaurant) – when you can stay in business for 10 years, as things stand, you are very lucky “Blocker said. “You have to have good employees to be able to do that, who come to work every day. I’m very lucky to be able to have the employees that I have. If you treat them well, they will stay with you.”
Blocker is originally from Houston, but she and her husband moved to Kilgore in 1976. Her father was a professional golfer and club pro. Because of this, she said she was always around people and learned that she “just liked people”.
“I was very lucky,” Blocker said. “I have people who appreciate our good food, and they frequent our restaurant, even if it is a bit out of the way.”
Pat’s Belle Pepper Cafe is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.