GLASGOW — Inside the cozy confines of Ms. Kay's Kitchen, customers are welcomed by the savory smell of food cooking and a staff composed of family members intent on reviving a country-style store that's been a part of the community for decades.
Located along Burkesville Road, the store and diner was known as 44 Market before recent owner Steve Hurt changed it to Steve's Market. The new owner, Brandy Houchens, worked for Hurt last year until he decided to get out of the business. Houchens and Hurt reached an agreement for her to take over, and she re-opened the store on Labor Day. Houchens' middle name is Kay, which is the inspiration behind the new name.
"It just kind of happened overnight, I guess," Houchens said of owning the store.
Houchens is a Metcalfe County native who moved to Barren County in 1998. She said she graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2009 with a degree in business management and finance.
"I've always wanted to own my own business, and then it just worked out that way," Houchens said.
Sausage, biscuits and gravy, bacon, tenderloin, country ham, eggs, hashbrowns and omelettes are on the breakfast menu at Ms. Kay's, which is served Monday through Saturday.
The lunch specials vary depending on the day, and they include meatloaf, chicken livers, vegetable soup, potato soup, pinto beans and cornbread. There's also a made-to-order menu with traditional options like hamburgers and french fries.
"We try to give everybody a choice," Houchens said.
The "we" is what makes Ms. Kay's a traditional country-style market. Houchens' primary helpers are her two daughters, Brianna Wood-Johnson and Lexis Wood, and her son, Jayden Wood. Her boyfriend, Randy Glass, and good friend Carissa Westmoreland also provide a lot of help at the store.
"It's a family business," Houchens said. "It's pretty cool to be able to do it with my kids and my boyfriend and my friend."
There are tables set up for people to enjoy their meal while inside the store, or food can be prepared for carryout.
Beyond a hot meal, customers can also buy food items like bread, milk and eggs, as well as soda pops and snacks. There are antiques and other items in the store for sale, and Houchens said she hopes to expand on those offerings as the business hopefully grows in the future.
As with any new business venture, Houchens said the past few months have required a lot of hard work and dedication by her and her family.
"It's definitely a challenge," she said.
But it's a challenge Houchens welcomes because she knows the market is important to many who live in that area of Barren County. It provides an option for customers to buy food or to pick up a few items instead of having to drive a few more miles into Glasgow.
Houchens also aims to eventually offer catering services.
Ms. Kay's Kitchen is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. It's closed on Sunday.
The store is at 5497 Burkesville Road. For more information or to call in an order, call 270-678-5605.