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Table Talk Nothing fi ner than Katie’s Diner


Somvang and Ailene Siharath (top) create a home-away-from-home experience in their diner. Photos by Grant Leatherwood


By Hayley Leatherwood “ M


om and Pop” Ailene and Somvang Siharath make their old-fashioned diner feel just how their food looks: warm, comforting and undeniably


hearty. Walking in to Katie’s Diner in Guthrie, Okla., is like stepping back into grandmother’s dining room. Roosters, many donated by diner regu- lars, perch along the windowsills. Waitresses cut up with the customers, almost like a sister would at the family table. “People feel at home at Katie’s,” Ailene says.


“They come as they are and we like that.” The restaurant has a rhythm of regulars, and the owners of 11 years strive to keep the consis- tency thriving. At 5:30 every morning, Somvang, who also serves as head chef, can be found in the kitchen starting the biscuits, bacon and gravy for the popular breakfast dishes. When Somvang dons his apron, Ailene says he turns into a “machine.” “He doesn’t just cook one order, he has the entire restaurant in mind,” Ailene says. “He’s incredibly skilled at timing.” The husband and wife team work in every


18 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


area of the restaurant like a well-oiled machine. While Somvang is in the back plating diner de- lights, Ailene is working the front of the restau- rant with a ready-smile and a passion to ensure customers are pleased. The Siharaths know their customers so well, the owners can tell who is in the restaurant sim- ply by glancing at the order tickets. “If the order seems wrong from a customer we know that order for, we can fi x it without going out there,” Somvang says. The Siharaths cater to their clientele, espe- cially when writing the menu. The menu has not changed in six years, mostly because the diner fl ourishes on entertaining creatures of habit. “You take biscuits and gravy away from them—it’s all over for us,” Somvang says with a laugh.


Katie’s biscuits are not the average hockey-


puck size. The dough alone weighs in at about 4 1/2 ounces apiece, and when baked to fl uffy full size many wonder how they will be able to eat all that’s been set before them. One of Somvang’s favorite signature items to dish up is the biscuit-based “Scrambler.” An open-faced biscuit sandwich with eggs, cheese


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