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Table Talk


By Mitch Steichen Kumback Cafe Photo by Mitch Steichen A


t 8 a.m., the north side of the downtown square in Perry, Okla., is packed with cars and trucks. Visitors moseying through town might wonder what could attract so many people at this early of an hour. If they follow their curiosity, they’ll find themselves at the Kumback Café, Oklahoma’s oldest restaurant under the same name and location. The Kumback opened in 1926 as a tiny diner, housing only six stools and a counter. Eddie Parker, the café’s original owner, could be found behind the bar, grilling hamburgers and chatting with the patrons. He and his wife, Kate Parker, operated the café until 1972, when the current owners, Tony and Marilee Macias, took over the reins. “The Kumback has been right here in downtown Perry for 86 years,” Marilee said. “It’s only had two owners since the beginning—Eddie and Kate and Tony and me. That’s quite a record you might say.” Although the café’s interior has seen many changes over the years, the food and friendly atmo- sphere remain the same. The Kumback still serves a delicious variety of home-style cooking. “The food is something like you’ll fi nd at home,” Marilee said. “It’s your meat, vegetables and pota- toes. It’s not like franchise cooking where you might get something frozen. This is homecooked, fresh food.”


Looking over the menu, customers will find Oklahoma favorites like chicken fried steak, ranch- style burgers, catfi sh, and chicken noodle soup. Each order is carefully and individually crafted by Marilee’s culinary counterpart, Tony. “Tony does a great job in the kitchen,” Marilee said. “He always cuts his own meat and makes his own chicken fries. We take great pride in serving good food and keeping our prices down.” Loyal patrons of the Kumback know their trade- mark is the pie. Lemon meringue, cherry, coconut,


apple, key lime, pecan, and just about anything else you can think of. All the pies, cinnamon rolls, and dinner rolls are made fresh daily either by Tony or Nancy Alexander, who bakes for the Kumback. Their daily pie offerings and specials are written on a large chalkboard in the middle of the café. Hundreds of photos line the walls of the Kumback. They cover just about every square inch of space and each tells a unique story. “A lot of people come in because of the pictures I have up on the walls,” Marilee said. “All these pictures are of Perry people, so they will come in just to see themselves hanging on the wall.” The photos take you through the whole history of the café—ranging from an encounter Eddie had with the famous bank robber, Pretty Boy Floyd, to the most recent wrestling state champions. The col- lection is reminiscent of a museum, telling an im- mersive story of the town’s residents and visitors. “People will come in who have an uncle or a dad hanging somewhere on the wall and they want to make sure that picture is still hanging there,” Marilee said. “I do keep getting new pictures and it’s hard for me to take down an older picture be- cause I never know who is going to come in to see their photo.”


Marilee’s dedication to her customers shows in her willingness to keep up with local history and to provide a welcoming atmosphere for a meal. “We love our customers,” Marilee said. “Those people who come every day, they are our friends. We love to have tourists, people from all over the world, that’s what makes this fun.”


Whether you stop in for the warm biscuits and gravy in the morning, a patty melt for lunch, or fi nger-licking fried chicken for supper, the Kumback Café will always keep you coming back for more.


“It’s your meat, vegetables and potatoes... This is homecooked,


fresh food.” - Marilee Macias, co-owner of the Kumback Cafe


Ya’ll Come Eat!


Specialties: Home-style cooking including fried chicken, burgers, ribs, country fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, ribeye, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls and their famous pies.


Price: Breakfast from $1.99 to $7.99 combos. Lunch from $4.99 to $8.99 combos. Dinner specials from $9.99. Cash, check and credit cards accepted.


Details: Open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Address: 625 Delaware, Perry, OK, located two miles east of highway I-35. Take exit 186 to the downtown Perry square; the Café is across the street, north of the Noble County Courthouse.


Contact: 580-336-4646, Marilee Macias 26 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


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