Re-visiting Callahan’s Cafe

Staff Writer

Every morning, Roy and Libby Callahan come into their restaurant at 4:30 a.m. and cook breakfast and lunch for the day.

The couple welcomes everyone to come try their homestyle cooking and experience their Southern hospitality.

Callahan’s serves breakfast items, hotdogs and hamburgers, homestyle meals, fresh-made salads and desserts along with other menu items.

“Everything is made fresh in house,” Roy said. “Libby makes all the chicken salad, egg salad, other salads, and desserts from scratch.”

The couple eat most of their meals at the restaurant and enjoy their food so much that they will even take it home to eat.

Roy likes his meatloaf, green beans, and baked apples, while Libby is particularly fond of the pork loin.

They also like the chicken and dumplings they serve on Sundays and chicken pie that’s a Wednesday favorite.

“Our green beans are a favorite of customers-- they’re not out of a can,” Roy said.

Those same green beans are used to make homemade vegetable- beef soup.

“People really like our soup too,” Libby said.

The food has pretty much stayed the same since 1995, but the couple have seen their share of changes.

“We’ve watched babies grow up, get married, and have children of their own,” Libby said.

According to Roy, one thing that hasn’t changed is Callahan’s customer service.

The couple are so in tune with their customers that they know the regulars by name and what type of food they like.

Typical customers are mostly middle-aged to elderly people, but they get lots of families with children on Sundays.

“I have one little boy who waits on me at the counter every Sunday,” Roy smiled. “I give him some candy.”

Relationships with their customers make the Callahan’s happy. Through the years they’ve formed many especially with their elderly customers.

Unfortunately, the elderly customers have been dying-off lately.

“We lost three of our customers in one week,” Libby said. “It’s sad. We miss them.”

Roy says that they go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome.

Even if the restaurant is ready to close for the day, he welcomes late customers with a smile.

“I don’t turn anybody down,” he said.

It’s that attitude that Roy thinks makes people choose Callahan’s time and time again.

“Most if they’ve been in here once, they’ll come back,” Roy said.

Even with the happy customers, Callahan’s has had their share of problems, from inadequate parking to a decrease in the local workforce.

“I use to have a super big business,” he shared. “But it’s recently dwindled away.”

Roy reminisced about the old days when there were 800 workers within a two block radius of Newton.

“Now there’s less than a third of that,” he said.

Still, Roy says 90 percent of his customers are Newton locals. Many walk to Callahan’s, but Roy says it’s hard for the elderly who need to park up front.

When the road construction hits Roy’s side of the road, he plans to go around and pass out menus to help increase delivery sales.

It’s the extra effort that Roy hopes will keep Callahan’s alive.

He and Libby intend to keep their business open as long as possible and want to make clear the fact that rumors of them closing are totally false.

Around March, the couple started receiving phone calls asking when they were closing.

“We said two o’clock,” Roy joked. “This is not the first time the rumor spread, but this time it exploded. We aren’t going anywhere.”

Even though Roy has had his share of surgeries, the couple feel they are in good health and want to keep on working for as long as they can.

They just love the customers and have been told that the customers love them back.

One pastor even used Callahan’s in her sermon.

“It’s the kind of restaurant with red-and white checkered tablecloths- the kind of place that serves good Southern dishes,” she preached. “The menu holds true... it is the place where hometown folks meet and eat.”

Businessman David Lastle also has a fondness for the restaurant. He’s been frequenting Callahan’s several times a week since the early 90’s. In fact, he brings a group of men with him every Thursday for breakfast.

“It’s the hub of who’s who in Newton,” he laughed.

He comes for various reasons, but mostly for the environment.

“It’s the love. I don’t come here for the food, but for the love,” he said. “Now the green beans are outstandingly good and so is the chicken pie.

No matter what happens with the road construction, Lastle plans to keep coming to Roy and Libby’s restaurant.

“Callahan’s is the best,” he said as he took his coffee and walked out the door.

For more information call Callahan’s Cafe at 828-465-0059 or visit Callahan’s Cafe on Facebook at callahanscafenewton