One of Pawhuska’s most popular restaurants is now open in its new location at 403 E. Main.
Owner Kim Laird, with the help of her brother Rodney Grigg and daughter Destiny Winkler, have spent the past two months converting the former Pizza Hut into a new, expanded Buffalo Joes. Laird’s husband, Danny, worked nonstop for over a month during the remodeling process. This work was being conducted while she was still operating her restaurant.
Grigg said, "We totally gutted the interior. There is not one piece of pizza left in this building. Everything is new — walls, wiring, flooring, furnishings and kitchen equipment. We doubled the kitchen which includes two sandwich units. Everything should be right at our fingertips."
Laird began cooking when she was 16 years old.
"By opening my new restaurant, I feel I have reached my goal," she said.
"If it were not for Bob Windsor and Steve Tolson, I would not be here today. Steve connected me with Bob and handled all the paperwork on this building."
Laird also credits the support of her mom and daughter Destiny.
"My 16-year old daughter has more on the ball than I did at her age. She has been a rock. I am also blessed to have Rodney help me. He recently graduated from OSU with an economics degree. His education is a tremendous asset, particularly when it comes to taxes. Rodney helps in all facets of operating Buffalo Joes."
Laird is expanding her menu to include three new items — blooming onions, baked potatoes and homemade hot rolls.
"That’s a lot for a massive new kitchen," said Laird. "I’m also going to have beans and cornbread every day and meatloaf. For the most part, these have been weekly specials but are frequently requested by my customers. Other favorites include chicken fried steak; chicken Monterey sandwich, hot hamburgers and catfish are big. They like it all."
Many of Laird’s menu items are suitable for her diabetic customers. She plans to enhance her desserts by using diabetic-friendly Splenda, especially for her cobblers. Traditional desserts will also be available.
The new Buffalo Joes has seating for 85 people. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Friday, breakfast will be served until 10:30 a.m. On Saturdays, breakfast will be served until 11 a.m.
Laird came to Pawhuska from Cushing in 1999 to open the original Hernandez Restaurant. After working from Hernandez for a total of twelve years, she opened her Buffalo Joes restaurant on Dec. 15, 2011. Two and a half years later, she is opening at her new location. Kim is married to Danny Laird. The couple has six children.