[Nameplate] Fair ~ 72°F  
High: 89°F ~ Low: 73°F
Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Country Boys Cooking cooks up fresh, made-to-order meals

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ray Guzman, left, and his brother, Frankie, display some of the selections available at Country Boys Cooking.
SIKESTON - Even before you walk in Country Boys Cooking, the smell of barbecue begins to tantalize the tastebuds. Each morning owner Ray Guzman and his brother, Frankie, begin their day by firing up the smoker to cook the meats featured on their menu.

Since opening May 7 at 417 W. Malone Ave., customers have found that these "country boys" know how to cook.

Frankie Guzman explains it is the smoke and maintaining that "nice temperature" that is the secret to their meats. "The chicken when they bite into it - it is outrageous. The juice just pours out," he said. "Our ribs are mouthwatering. People just love 'em."

It's not just the smoked meats and barbecue that brings customers in. Ray Guzman points out the menu is wide-ranging at Country Boys Cooking.

Opening at 6 a.m., customers with big appetites can select the Country Boys Big Breakfast featuring three eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, grits, biscuits, gravy, pancakes, hashbrowns or fried potatoes. Or they may opt for the special, called the Poor Man's Breakfast, created by their father, which is three eggs, bacon, greens and onions all scrambled together then served with hashbrowns or fried potatoes and biscuits.

Beverly Guzman is pictured with staff members Brittney Rucker and Shirley Neal.
The breakfast menu also includes omelets, french toast and pancakes.

When the morning plates are cleared, the Guzmans begin work on their lunch and supper entrees. But, they are quick to point out, orders are cooked when they are placed.

"Our food is made to order. It takes a little longer but the food is hot and fresh," said Frankie Guzman.

The lunch-dinner menu includes the smoked ribs and chicken; country fried steak; fried chicken livers smothered with mushrooms and brown gravy; hot wings; salads and lots of sandwiches.

"Our burgers are big," said Frankie Guzman.

"We want people to leave satisfied," added Ray Guzman's wife, Beverly Guzman, who is also part of the family operation. "We offer generous portions and reasonable prices. That is what keeps bringing people back."

And, the Guzmans agreed, the customers are coming back and bringing their friends. Business has grown steadily, they said.

The staff is getting to know the regulars and the Guzmans said they like to take time out of the kitchen and meet and greet their customers. They also are quick to exchange a smile and a joke.

The customer-friendly style they have developed they attribute to their years of working at Lambert's Cafe with Norman Lambert. "We learned a lot from him," said Ray Guzman.

"He was good to people and knew how to talk with people," said Frankie Guzman.

They have also learned to listen. When a customer pointed out they were called Country Boys Cooking but didn't have country ham on the menu, the Guzmans quickly remedied that. When another customer requested brown beans, they asked when he would be back and it was there on his plate the next time.

And they have rounded out their menu offerings with a children's menu and topped it with desserts.

The Guzmans hired Beverly Wright to make pies for the restaurant. She will bring in pies such as sweetpotato, pecan, banana cream and even fried pies for the customers' enjoyment.

"Because our portions are so big, we didn't think we would sell many desserts but a lot of people will come in just to get a slice of one of her pies," said Ray Guzman.

While the small restaurant has seating for 43, Country Boys Cooking also has carryout available. The Guzmans are beginning to offer catering services, too.

Creating the restaurant was a family project, the Guzmans said. The entire family pitched in to help but Ray Guzman also credits a higher power.

"We put everything to God and he has blessed us," he said.

Country Boys Cooking is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is closed Sundays.