A dish with legs

Thursdays are frog night at a local café
Wednesday, March 31, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:28 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Go to Heuer’s Country Store and Cafe on Thursday nights between 4 and 8 p.m. and you’ll be able to eat something you can’t find at many restaurants — frog legs.

“We serve them all year round,” said Jamie Heuer, owner of Heuer’s Country Store and Café. “As long as we can get them, we serve them.”

The special includes three sets of deep fried frog legs served with a potato or fries, cole slaw or salad and Texas toast.

Heuer first started serving frog legs a year ago and since then, people flock to Heuer’s on Thursday.

Heuer’s is located 12 miles north of Columbia on U.S. 63.

“People from everywhere come: Columbia, Centralia, Moberly, just any small town around here,” Heuer said. “A lot of people from Huntsville and Moberly drive down just for the frog legs.”

Don’t expect to see frog legs on the menu other nights of the week, however. They’re a Thursday night special only.

“Our kitchen’s so small, we have to focus on certain things,” Heuer said.

Besides Thursday night’s frog leg special, Heuer’s Country Store and Café feature specials on other nights as well.

Monday’s special is all you can eat spaghetti. Tuesday is family night; kids under 10 can eat free when an adult orders a meal. Wednesdays and Sundays, fried chicken is the house specialty.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the kitchen serves up Heuer’s favorite entrée, what he boasts as the “best prime rib in Missouri.”

“Anywhere I go out of town I always get the prime rib,” he said. “I’ve found none that have compared, and I’ve heard a lot of customers say the same thing.”

Heuer first opened his restaurant in November 1999 and, unlike many small restaurants, Heuer’s Country Store and Café is open seven days a week beginning at 6 a.m.

“I stay open because there’s a need,” Heuer said. “Other restaurants are closed one or two days a week.

“I’ve thought about taking a day off, but someone needs to be open,” he added.

Working long hours is not uncommon for Heuer, who said he works 60 hours a week on average.

“Certain things have to be done every day,” he said. “Some weeks I work more, some weeks I work less.”

Heuer’s 20 employees help to make his job easier.

“They really take the load off,” he said. “A lot of the work is done by the employees.”

Heuer’s country style and family atmosphere draw all types of people.

“It’s a really laid-back place,” Heuer said. “It doesn’t matter if you wear a business suit or muddy boots.”

The atmosphere at Heuer’s welcomes the tune of bluegrass music on Sunday nights.

“A bluegrass group comes in on Sundays and have a little jam session,” Heuer said. “The guys have been playing together for a long time.”

The group isn’t the only one who can enjoy playing bluegrass music though.

“They welcome anyone who has similar interests in bluegrass,” Heuer added.

According to Heuer, what sets his restaurant apart from others is “our friendly atmosphere and quality of food.”

“A lot of restaurants buy cheaper food to increase profits,” he said. “I don’t do that. If I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t serve it.”

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