The Back Porch Restaurant, serving your community for over 20 years
What makes a legend? Time, tradition, people - whatever the combination, Jackie and Vicki Clayton have build a legend at the Back Porch.
The Claytons have owned the Back Porch for since 1990 but the history goes back to the 1960s when the business was a pool hall owned by Harry Crow.
Jackie said the place was "pool tables from front to back" until the early 70s when Bill Terrell and Walt Madison bought it and turned it into a sandwich shop.
Jackie said Alvin Ords owned it for a short while in the mid 70s, but in the early 80s Doyle and Karen Thomas and Lisa and Billy Holbrooke bought what was then Burgers and Fries and the Back Porch was born. The Back Porch was almost lost when a fire destroyed the building in 1984, but was rebuilt and history continued.
In January of 1990, the Claytons bought the Back Porch, opened for supper business, and it's been going strong ever since.
They use only fresh, unfrozen meat, and the menu was originally very simple: big and little burgers and large fries. Now the menu has a large variety of delicious entrees to choose from.
High school booster clubs once used the Back Porch frequently, but when the new field house was built 11 years ago, once again things changed. "The high school football team still has their traditional pre-game meal here every Friday," said Vicki.
The Back Porch added the volleyball court in 1992 with open play for all, or you can reserve the court for private games and tournaments.
There is a Shakespeare prom in which the performers decorate the restaurant for private entertainment and fun.
The drive-thru window has been a big success since it was opened eight years ago. "We also have the Locker Room for speical events, birthdays, weddings, and receptions," said Jackie.
With tradition comes good employees such as Pat McDonald, who has been working at the Back Porch for 18 years doing the cooking, and Tammi McFadden greeting the customers for 11 years. Lindsey Lawrence has been manager of the Back Porch for some time now, and doing a great job.
Four years ago, the Back Porch implemented the sit-down service after 5 p.m. "Before 5 p.m., people order at the counter, but now after 5 p.m., you're seated, your order is taken, and your food brought to you," said Vicki.
The beans and hush puppies are still plentiful and as good as ever, and the Sue Lou (you just have to ask) salad is available at any time. "We also have a lot of items on the menu for those looking for less fat, such as buffalo, turkey, grilled chicken breast, and of course salads," said Vicki.
One item that had become very popular is the Burger Paks; seasoned patty and bun with the fixins. "These are everything you need to grill out without the fuss. We do the work, you have the fun, and no order is too big or too small - just call in advance for the big ones."
The Claytons were born and raised in Kilgore, graduated from Kilgore High School, and went on to Kilgore College... just good down-home people serving the community they love.