Good Food. Good Fun. Good Friends. That is the motto for one of the restaurants in Greenbrier — Yesteryears Café & Bakery. Although they have been in Greenbrier for three years, they recently moved and expanded their seating from 30 to 136 in their new digs. Decorated in a country, down-home feel, chef Bill Temple prides himself in creating fresh pies and meals cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients every day. He also wants customers to feel welcome and considers this a place to meet friends, enjoy a meal and have some fun while eating.
Temple earned the title of chef by graduating with a Culinary Arts degree from Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana. He got his start at the Hilton Hotel in Shreveport, La., in the 1980s and has worked with some of the finest country clubs and chefs. He says the problem with many restaurants today is "everything with all the big chains and fast food restaurants is pre-fab. It all tastes the same. The only thing I use from a can is tomatoes."
Temple does his own steaks, smokes his own meats, bakes fresh pies every day and has a plate lunch special every day. A majority of his staff has been with him since he opened in Greenbrier.
Temple said, "There are two kinds of chefs: the real elaborate and foo-foo ones and the ones who just do down-home good food. I can do both ... and control budgets too. I grew up with a grandma from Louisiana and a mom who could both cook, and we all sat around the table and talked, had fun and enjoyed food."
He continued, "I do one of the best tasting wedding cakes in the state of Arkansas." When asked what his secret is, he said, "It’s fresh, never two or three days old; and the butter cream is light, not heavy to leave a slick taste in your mouth."
He worked his way around Louisiana and learned from some very good chefs along the way, including Shorty Leonard, a pastry chef. He later made his way to Arkansas by working for Southwest Energy’s general marine leasing outfit out of New Orleans. He served two meals a day for 180-200 roughneck men with hearty appetites in Damascus until he left them just last year. For about two years he was still cooking for those men at the same time as he was getting the first Yesteryears Café & Bakery started.
The new Yesteryears Café & Bakery is located at 52 S. Broadview, just behind Regions Bank. Operating hours are 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and until 8:30 on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 501-581-0076 in advance if you want a whole pie or catering.