The sign reads “Burns Café, Where good friends meet to eat.” The stuffed bobcat over the front door does not deter the family friendly atmosphere Rachel and Stephen Koehn instill in their restaurant.
“We’re the only place to eat in Burns,” Rachel Koehn said, “so come Friday night we’re packed. We have our regulars, but each week we make new friends. The friends we have made doing this are priceless.”
The Koehns started the restaurant in 1995. Their specials include marinated chicken and other typical diner dishes, but what people travel for is the pie.
“They are by far our best seller,” Rachel said. “We started cooking them, and people liked them. People like the cherry and coconut cream the best.”
According to Rachel, people travel all over for the pie.
“I try to coordinate my travels through the area to align with the café being opened,” a customer from Salina said. “The pie is that good.”
“We usually make about 20 to 25 pies Friday day for when we’re open that night,” Rachel said. “We usually always sell out.”
Rachel and her two daughters make 20 more fresh for Saturday’s guests.
Her daughters, Victoria and Samantha, also help serve and cook every weekend at the diner. Stephen and son, Jordan, help in the kitchen. Rachel’s three sisters also help cook and serve, one by making three large pans of homemade cinnamon rolls, which sell out every weekend. Rachel’s 85-year-old mother lends a hand by wrapping silverware. Several servers also assist.
“It’s a family effort,” Rachael said. “We enjoy all being together and get along great.”
Stephen and Rachael bought the restaurant on a whim.
“We saw the building was for sale. I always thought the building was nice, and the price was right,” Rachael said. “Now we’re stuck with it. We all enjoy it.”
The restaurant is open Friday evenings for dinner, and Saturday for breakfast and lunch. Stephen also farms and is an electrician.
“We’re busy,” Rachel said. “We are only open limited hours at the restaurant because of that. I like the flexibility the weekend hours give, but there are people in town who would really appreciate a full time diner.”
They make fresh baked goods throughout the week to sell and even have guests bring in things from their garden or homemade wares to sell.
“It’s cool because you never know what you’re going to come in and see,” Rachael said. “Right now we have pumpkins from a local, and some leather works from another.”
Rachel said she does not remember learning to cook when she was younger.
“I have no recollection of cooking with my mother or grandmother,” she said. “We took this over and just sort of figured it out as we go. It’s turned out well I think.”