BARNSDALL — There’s nothing fancy about REKSS, but once people sample the burgers and the hospitality they have a tendency to find their way back.
Mike Pearson of Turley testified to that last Friday, offering that he had a burger at REKSS the day before, and he was back already — “hooked” was how he put it.
While the name is REKSS, the business is located in small deep-red and gray building with a sign that reads “Andy’s Hamburgers.” Andy’s was a past name for the place. The colors are a close approximation of Barnsdall High School’s colors.
Janice Smith and her husband, Joseph, have owned the small restaurant, located on the southeast corner of Fifth and Main streets in Barnsdall, for about two years. It’s right along the path through town of State Highway 11, and Janice Smith said they have a map on which they keep up with the visitors from far-off who find their way through the doors. Try Puerto Rico, Alaska and Mexico for starters.
“A lot of people come (to Barnsdall) for the pumpjack,” she said, referring to the small oil-well located on Main Street. “You’ll see people stop, and they’ll be taking pictures over there.”
REKSS is an acronym. It stands for Riley, Erin, Kade, Sharon and the Smiths. Janice and Joseph are the Smiths. Erin, a former part-owner of the restaurant, is Erin Hearn, who still cooks burgers there. She’s been with the business for 14 years and Janice Smith said she learned everything she knows about the burger business from Erin.
“Just something different we had never done before,” Janice says, when asked why she and Joseph chose to buy the restaurant. Janice is a 1999 graduate of Barnsdall High School who moved away after high school. She has also been a floor manager for a casino and supervised the kitchen some for the casino.
While Joseph has a full-time job aside from the restaurant, he participates at REKSS on weekends and is the creator of a particularly spicy burger that isn’t even on the menu, but may strike your fancy or that of a loved one. It’s the Joe Burger, which features ghost pepper cheese.
“It’s not on the menu, so mostly just the locals know of it,” Janice Smith said. “It’s just very hot.”
She says Joseph pretty much does a little of everything when he’s helping at REKSS, but he particularly likes making “crazy concoctions.”
Janice says getting to cook for her guests and meeting people who pass through Barnsdall and stop for a meal are among her favorite things to do at REKSS. The restaurant draws a number of repeat customers, who turn up now and then to get another taste of items on the menu they crave, Janice says.
REKSS features very fresh Angus beef, supplies of which are picked up every two to three days, Janice said. The restaurant uses that Angus beef to make its own chili and taco meat, she said.
REKSS is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is also open from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Weekend hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.