The secret to the longevity and popularity of Betty’s Place in Toledo, a recent recipient of a Best of Lewis County award for its celebrated burgers, is consistency, said owner Kay Pratt.
“(It’s the) same burgers made in ’83 as made today,” added husband Jerry.
Betty’s Place doesn’t have any secret ingredients, but it has plenty of variety, Kay said.
The menu’s most popular item is the deluxe burger, and the kitchen also pumps out fish and chips, chicken strips, crinkle-cut fries and deep fried green beans, mac and cheese and mini corn dogs.
Betty’s Place also makes its own fry and tartar sauces.
“We have more than most folks on our menu,” Kay said.
But one of the most popular offerings, especially in the summer, is the ice cream. Betty’s Place has a number of flavors of shakes and cones, including a popular 25-cent mini cone.
“We go through thousands of those things,” Jerry said.
Betty’s Place often goes through 30 gallons of soft-serve ice cream mix each week, he said.
The restaurant, on the former site of a gas station, was first opened by the owners of Mrs. Beesley’s Burgers. In 1983, Kay’s mother Betty bought the restaurant and gave the burger joint its name.
About 16 years ago, Kay Pratt took over. She’s been working at the restaurant 28 years.
“It wasn’t an overnight success,” Jerry said.
The family worked hard at it, and soon Betty’s was the place to be. Eventually, the first customers’ and employees’ children began working and eating at the Toledo staple.
“I’m seeing (the) third generation now,” Kay said.
Pam Meade stopped at Betty’s for lunch Wednesday.
“They’re pretty darn good,” she said. “There’s no doubt it’s the best burger around.”
Betty’s Place cooks make all the food to order, just like they always have.
“We make it. It’s not pre-cooked,” Kay said.
“They’re cooking it while you’re waiting,” Jerry said.
On busy days, the wait time can stretch to 45 minutes, but loyal Betty’s burger lovers will wait, he said.
After nearly 30 years at the restaurant, Kay said she enjoys the freedom of owning her own business.
“I like it because I love talking to people,” Jerry said. “I just like the people.”