On Hatteberg’s People, it’s not often a century-old Kansas building gets a new start with owners from the other side of the ocean. Richard McFarland-Clark and his wife Cheryl traveled from Wales to Herrington to have a fresh start in a little Kansas café.
“How is it…OK?”
“The joy I get is when people come in and just have fun…the banter of having fun.”
“Oh man, it makes my mouth water.”
As the spring rains make for cloudy days over the Mansion restaurant in Herrington, it is made up for by the banter among the customers and the café’s owner – Richard McFarland Clark.
“It’s hot and it’s good, but oh is it hot.”
“They eat the food, they enjoy the food…that’s the joy!”
Richard may be from Wales, but he fits into the Kansas small-town landscape like a native.
“You only had the first bite and you haven’t touched a bit of it since…yeah, yeah, yeah.”
“It’s meat and potato country, it’s a meat and potato place. That’s not a bad thing. It’s one of the nicest things you can possibly say about America.”
He and his wife began the café over year ago, after going through difficult times in Britain. Cheryl is currently in Wales after suffering heart attack on a visit there in January. Richard looks forward to her return and keeps the café humming.
“The one thing I’ve found here is, if someone can help you, they will.”
His restaurant caters to a population who loves burgers, chicken and steak, but he also brings food from his own country like lamb soup.
“The more people you meet, the less you can be afraid of them.”
With a strong Welch accent he has adapted the café to the times. When business began to fall off, he created a recession menu with meals for 5 dollars or less. But he didn’t cut back on the portions ---
“We left the food the same; we just cut back on the prices.”
“We now see more people and it’s the most popular thing we do. People appreciate the fact that we have a recession menu.”
“It’s a challenge, like everything in the world is a challenge. But it is one we enjoy.”
On this particular day, the good news was business was good. The bad news was he ran out of some food.
“We do have chicken-fried-chicken; we don’t have any steak at all. We sold all out, and we don’t have any beef.”
“We talked earlier about the kindness of the people here. Well, I’ve run out of steak, I’ve run out of roast beef, the two most favorite things in the place and no one is really shouting at me. That’s a joy, because sometimes people would really be on top of you when you run out of the two major things they eat.”
“Hello, how are you doing?”
“I’d say the best part of running this restaurant are the people that come to it.”
“Ladies, I’ll be with you in a second.”
Larry's Note: The Mansion restaurant is located at 22 East Main Street in Herington, KS