I’m the one who wrote a story for Panhandle Tidbits a couple of years ago. I have a column in the Tulia newspaper and would like to run the story there if you have no objections. I am attaching a copy. I would appreciate it if you could go over the copy and let me know if anything needs to be changed. Hope everything is well with you and yours.
Youngblood’s Café – “No Bull”
By Lana Barnett
On Monday my husband, granddaughter, sister and I took my daughter out for a birthday lunch. We gave her the choice of locations and she chose the Stockyard Café.
When you walk into the Stockyard Café you know you’re in a different kind of place. A place that rarely exists in today’s fast pace world. The best way to describe it is a café from days past. A place where the potatoes are peeled on sight and the beef doesn’t come in little frozen patties.
The Stockyard Café, located at Amarillo’s legendary Stockyards, where over 300,000 head of livestock are bought and sold each year, is owned by Tim and Vicki Youngblood. Tim’s first venture into the restaurant business in Amarillo was the Pig Hip in 1973. On occasion he will offer the famous Pig Hip sandwich on the daily special.
A native Texan whose family has owned restaurants for three generations, Tim credits his maternal grandfather, John McGill, with teaching him the value of cooking from scratch.The McGill family came to Texas from Mississippi in a wagon pulled by oxen. They settled in the Clarendon area. As a young boy John McGill worked on the JA Ranch for Colonel Charles Goodnight. He worked all one summer and was paid for his labor with a mule.
When World War I broke out young John joined the army and was put in the kitchen where they taught him to be a baker. After the War he moved to Childress, where he met and married Tim’s grandmother, and opened the first bakery in town. The bakery was not a success so they tried Quitaque and then Shamrock. Again they had no success.
They finally settled in Wellington where they worked in and then owned restaurants. They had finally found a home and spent their entire career there. A dream John McGill had and never realized was to cook at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
In 1985 Tim was cooking in an Amarillo restaurant when he made a decision, “I thought, if I want to continue in this business, I’ll be working for people who graduated from culinary school, so I may as well go myself.” So with that thought in mind, Tim Youngblood enrolled in the “CIA.”
For more than half a century, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence. Tim studied there for two years. Midway though school students have to enter an externship. Simply speaking you have to find a job. Remembering how his grandfather had always wanted to cook at the Waldorf Astoria, that is where he headed.
He visited with the head chef who told him they didn’t need anyone. Tim said “You don’t understand,” and related the story of his grandfather. The chef repeated his story “They didn’t need anyone.” Two days later the chef called. He said “You know what; I’ve got a job for you.” Tim worked there for his entire externship and really enjoyed it. “It was a wonderful experience, all full of history,” Tim related.
After graduation, he worked for six years in New York where one of his jobs was executive chef at the Harbor Lights restaurant. At the time The New Yorker magazine touted it as the best restaurant in the Wall Street area.
He eventually returned to Amarillo and in 2001 purchased the Stockyard Café.Tim says “The food isn’t high-dollar, but I use the same principles I learned in culinary school.” He also follows the good example his grandfather John McGill set.
“When you eat the gravy here, you’re eating the gravy my grandfather served in his café in Wellington. Our steaks are cooked on a flat grill, just like he did. They didn’t use charcoal back then.”
The Stockyard Café’s reputation for superior Chicken Fried Steak grew to the extent that the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food program featured it last year. “We saw more out-of-towners…and a 35 percent increase in our CFS orders after the show,” says Tim.
Tim shares the spotlight with his wife, Vicki, whose own version of CFS—it’s topped with green chili gravy—is the house specialty of Friday evening. Awhile back the couple opened a second location called Vicki’s Place in the historic Amarillo National Bank in downtown Amarillo. It offers some of the same dishes, plus sandwiches and other light fare.
Whether it’s the famous chicken fried steak, a bowl of home style soup, the handmade potato chips or the scrumptious banana pudding, everything is delicious. Try it, you’ll like it.
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