Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Nancy Fife-Eagle, Beth Stockebrand, Hys Filling Station

Kansas Profile - KSRE

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Remember when small town Kansas had filling stations instead of convenience stores?

Today we will meet an old time filling station, but this one is not about filling your gas tank. Instead, it’s about filling your stomach.

Nancy Fife-Eagle and her daughter Beth Stockebrand are co-owners of Hys Filling Station, a diner in Yates Center. Nancy is vice president and compliance officer for GNBank in Yates Center. Beth is a nursing home administrator. Nancy and her husband live in the house where she grew up, in the nearby rural community of Toronto, population 281 people. Now, that’ s rural.

For decades, Yates Center had a small diner named Tip-Top Café. It had great memories for both Nancy and Beth.

“Tip-Top was my first job at 15 and I could barely drive,” Beth said. Her late father worked in the restaurant industry and even ran a small carryout place. “My dad was a really good cook.”

The Tip-Top Café closed and became another restaurant briefly, but was then abandoned. Beth attended Emporia State, married a Woodson County guy, and returned to the community.

In 2016, Nancy and Beth decided to purchase, remodel and reopen the old diner. “My husband is a car guy,” Beth said. “He runs an auto body shop in Iola so we wanted an automotive theme.”

In front of the diner, they installed an antique gas pump from her grandfather’s shop. Using the name Hys from Beth’s grandparent’s business name, they called it Hys Filling Station.

“A few people have pulled up to the pump and tried to get gas,” Nancy said with a smile. There’s no gasoline, but when those customers get inside, they find down-home family cooking and small town friendliness.

Hys Filling Station features hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pork tenderloin, chicken strips, chicken fried steak, ham and beans and much more. “We’ve had people rave about our hamburgers, and our chicken and noodles always sells out,” Nancy said. “All of our hamburger is grown by a local farmer.”

There are daily specials, including casseroles and homemade chicken and noodles every Friday. The diner is open for breakfast and lunch.

This is a family affair. “Beth’s father-in-law, Ron Stockebrand, breads everything by hand,” Nancy said. Beth’s mother-in-law Patty makes pies.

In honor of Beth’s dad, there is an entree called the Herbie, which consists of a hamburger patty on Texas toast with handcut fries, chili and cheese.

“My 13-year old son washes dishes on Saturday,” Beth said. “I want to teach him a good work ethic.”

“(Working in the diner) brings us closer as a family,” Beth said. “When I make my dad’s chili, I think of him.”

Beth and Nancy credit the hard-working staff and supportive customers for the restaurant’s success.

“I like our customers, and this is all possible because we have great team members,” Beth said.

Nancy adds: “I enjoy our customers and our employees. We have a lot of fun.”

Small town friendliness abounds here. “We’re not a very big place, so folks will often share a table with someone else,” Nancy said. “Recently there was a couple in town for a funeral. They came in and sat down with another couple they didn’t know and by the time they left, they were friends. The one couple even paid for the other’s meal.”

“We like to connect with people,” Beth said. “When I leave here on Saturday, my heart is full.”

Hys Filling Station benefits from the fact that Yates Center is situated at the crossroads of Highways 75 and 54. For more information, search for Hys Filling Station on Facebook.

Remember when small town Kansas had filling stations instead of convenience stores? Today we can recapture that nostalgic theme while enjoying classic foods in a friendly setting.

We commend Nancy Fife-Eagle, Beth Stockebrand and all those involved with Hys Filling Station for making a difference with good food and friendship. Now let’s take a look at the menu and…Fill `er up!

Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.

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The mission of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. The Kansas Profile radio series and columns are produced with assistance from the K-State Research and Extension Department of Communications News Media Services unit. A photo of Ron Wilson is available at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/sty/RonWilson.htm. Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.

K State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K State campus in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.ksre.ksu.edu

Column by:
Ron Wilson
[email protected]
785-532-7690

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