Family Cooking

Tammy’s Country Kitchen Opens Along Route 20

Linda Hill and restaurant owner Tammy Beaujean review the menu at Tammy’s Country Kitchen on Route 20 in Ripley. P-J photo by David Prenatt

RIPLEY — “I want you to feel like family when you come in here.”

“Here” is Tammy’s Country Kitchen, which opened on May 13 on Route 20, about 2 miles east of Ripley. Tammy Beaujean, who owns the restaurant, says her goal is to provide fresh, home-made food in a “homey” atmosphere.

The restaurant is family oriented, Beaujean said. Her husband and son, both named Roger, work side-by-side with her as the cooks. Her daughter, Michelle, and her best friend, Linda Hill, run the front of the establishment.

“We are a family run restaurant,” Beaujean said. “I have top-quality meat. All my food is homemade. We even make our own French fries here. I don’t buy anything,” she said.

Not only is the food fresh, Beaujean said, but the portions are large. The half-pound burgers are steak burgers, the fresh haddock dinner on Friday night, “hangs over the plate,” and there’s even a one-pound burger called “The Intimidator.”

Every day there is a special, Beaujean said. For instance, Tuesday is senior citizens’ day, Wednesday is family night when kids eat for free and Saturday is build your own half-pound burger day.

“People go crazy with that,” Beaujean said. “I’ve had people add chicken, steak, onion rings, you name it. It’s costly, but I don’t mind — it should be fun.

Beaujean said she also offers 10 percent off for first responders every day. This includes police, firefighters and veterans. Beaujean hosted a free dinner for vets on Veterans Day to honor and thank them.

Beaujean said the sunroom area of the restaurant is available to groups and parties without charge, as long as they order from the menu. She’s had many groups use it, including Red Hat Ladies, Girl Scouts and a group from Welch’s.

Beaujean noted that she offers gluten-free food on her menu. She has a gluten-free fryer in which her French fires are cooked, and “I even do gluten-free fish,” she said.

Beaujean started out in Westfield with Tammy’s Burger Barn, but was compelled to move to Mayville when her rent became too high. She ran a restaurant on Erie Street in Mayville for three years, where, the week of Easter, her rent jumped from $900 to $2,000.

“You just can’t do that to people,” Beaujean said. “I wasn’t making money. I was making ends meet and feeding my family. I just couldn’t take the raise.”

Beaujean said that someone had told her awhile before that Papa’s Restaurant in Ripley had been sold and was for rent. She looked at it then, and when her rent increased, she decided to make the move there.

Beaujean said she moved at the end of April, but it was difficult to get the place going. The restaurant was in poor condition and it was not zoned commercial. It needed new equipment and the sewer was not hooked up properly.

“We took a hit, but we needed to do these things,” Beaujean said. “It was a battle to get this place going.”

Because it was not zoned commercial, Beaujean had to go before the Ripley Zoning Board twice.

“I had to pay for a special leasing permit and had to notify all the neighbors and put it in the paper that I was opening a restaurant,” Beaujean said.

She was granted the permit after a public meeting, which was attended by neighbors and former customers.

Her problems did not end when the restaurant opened, Beaujean said. The very day the restaurant opened, the state of New York closed Route 20 to repair bridges. Traffic was detoured around her restaurant for four months.

To make matters worse, Beaujean said, “people were being told I was closed and that you could not get to me because of the construction.”

The sign in front of the restaurant “was also a big hassle,” Beaujean said. She had requested the new sign to be made as a sleeve that would go over the old Papa’s Restaurant sign. However, what she got was a two-piece sign that wouldn’t stay on properly, she said. It is currently being reworked.

Still, her family persisted and things are looking up.

“Business is slow, but it’s OK. Friday is our best day because that is fish day,” she said.

Beaujean says they have many plans to keep the focus on a family restaurant. On Dec. 17, children can come to see Santa Claus between 1-5 p.m. and have their picture taken.

She also plans to convert the old bar section of the restaurant into an ice cream bar, with the focus on children.

“This is a family-oriented business, and we want to keep it that way,” Beaujean said.