Eudora After spending more than 31 years in the butchering and meat cutting business, Tom Pyle and his family have turned restaurateurs.
The decision to make the change came about as a result of a growing nationwide trend with farmers taking their cattle to sale barns instead of local butchers, Pyle said.
"The farmers are not fattening cattle like they used to," he said. "They're selling them to feedlots and they're going to sale barns in western Kansas. We were still getting hogs, but there's not enough tonnage in hogs. We couldn't turn a profit anymore. It was a matter of making a change or going broke, and I elected to make a change."
Once that was decided, the transformation was rapid.
On May 1, Pyle Meat Company discontinued its butchering and meat cutting services.
On May 2, Pyle auctioned off most of his major equipment, such as grinders, saws and hoists.
AND ON May 3, the Pyle family began the arduous process of remodeling the meat company into a deli-restaurant.
They gutted the front section of the building, located at 800 Main in Eudora. They partially tore out two old roofs and cut windows for the upstairs mezzanine seating. What once was the area where animals were slaughtered now is the kitchen. Deli cases and the food bar sit where meat processing once took place, and the former retail sales area now is dotted by tables and chairs.
"We went to a lot of auctions looking for quality used equipment," Pyle said, adding that most of their furniture and equipment came from restaurants that were moving or going out of business.
Decisions during the remodeling process were made during frequent brainstorming sessions with his wife, Alberta, and their seven children, said Pyle. The family discussed various options and "majority ruled," he said.
Apparently, the majority approved a black and white color scheme. The restaurant features a geometric-patterned black and white tile floor, black and white ceiling fans, black-cushioned chairs and white tablecloths. The white walls are lined with photographs of turn-of-the-century Eudora.
PYLE EMPLOYS 20 full-time and part-time workers, but his two sons, Tom Jr. and Patrick, handle most of the day-to-day operation, along with Tom Jr.'s wife, Tracy. Tom Pyle Jr. attended chef school at Johnson County Community College, so he's no stranger to the kitchen.
Pyle's Meat Market and Deli opened on Aug. 19, serving lunch and dinner and selling the Pyles' homemade Hombre Beef Jerky, summer sausage, Polish sausage and other deli items. After only a week in business, the restaurant expanded to serve breakfast.
The restaurant seats about 50, and Pyle said it's been filled to capacity at times. "The business started off well," he said. "The first two weeks were better than we expected."
The restaurant serves breakfast from a hot bar starting at 7 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and supper from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.