We visited Patsy Wilson, of Patsy’s Stage Stop. Hearing her recall the story of her successful restaurant reminds us how much hard work, community support and good food has made her a treasured landmark here on the McKenzie.
“When I first got this place, it was eight hours a day, six days a week. I went six months without taking a day off,” says Patsy Wilson, owner and proprietor of Patsy’s Stage Stop. “There was a Pepsi machine. There was a video machine. There was video poker machine and a deli case sitting there and there was dry rot. I moved the bar around. There were people sitting here and reading the paper. Some days I would get $27.00. I would get up in the morning and say, I am going to fix breakfast, lunch and dinner. All I had then was an electric skillet. You had to go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. There was an old barn. I took the barn out and put the deck in. I in put the booths and the counters. I had a slim chance of making it.
On Friday nights, I started with Prime Rib. The community loved it. It took me three years of working with electric skillets. I do all my all of my soups and gravy fresh. Every bit is from scratch. I brought my sister out from Texas and we redecorated. The community came in. They brought me prop guns. Some people brought saws; some brought in wagon wheels from the 1800’s. It was amazing. I had been in the restaurant business in Eugene for years. I was born here. I’m 65 years old now. I just took to the business. I started out as a waitress. I worked for Bobby Fisher for 14 years, then I came here. I just took to cooking. I’m self-taught. I was working at a place and one night they didn’t have a cook. It was as simple as that. What I really like best are the people. I’ll talk to them. They enjoy the meals. It’s so nice. Valerie, my sister, has been so instrumental. She said, “if you take care of the front, I’ll take care of the kitchen.” There are a million downsides and I’ve made so many mistakes. But I’m still alive. The business is ‘s seasonal. Winter slows down. May picks up. My most famous dish? Sausage gravy. I make it from scratch. Then there’s my clam chowder; corn beef hash; hash browns and home fries. I’ll pick up a potato slice it and fresh. It’s all home cooking. Of course, there’s the fish and chips. It’s not pre-battered and it’s so good.
What’s in the future? “Spending more time with my grandkids now. I have two boys and they have kids. I’m 65 and it’s time to spend more time with them and my husband.” “Come on down. You won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it!”
Find Patsy’s at: 38491 McKenzie Hwy Springfield, OR 97478 Phone: (541) 741-7907
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