Some restaurants do not need advertising or marketing gimmicks. Those local gems focus on what they do best—cooking delicious food and serving it with a smile—and let word of mouth and a committed group of regulars do the rest. 

 

Country Kitchen in Kensett is one such establishment, and Leisa Campbell, who has worked in the restaurant industry on and off since she was 16 when she took her first job there, said there are many regulars she knows by name.

 

“To know them is to love them, and they brighten my day more than they know,” she said. 

 

She said those customers contribute to the restaurant’s family-like atmosphere, but working alongside actual family does not hurt.

 

Campbell with her twin sister, Tracie Middleton

Campbell with her twin sister, Tracie Middleton

 

“My absolute favorite thing about working at the Country Kitchen is that I get to waitress alongside my twin sister every day,” Campbell said. “She is my best friend and makes the workplace so enjoyable and fun, and we get to laugh and enjoy each day together.”

 

Then, of course, there are the daily specials that seem to come straight off a family table. Serving breakfast all day, plate lunches on weekdays and a buffet on weekends, the menu board reads like a list of childhood favorites — roast beef with carrots and potatoes, country-fried steak with white gravy, fried pork chop, beef stroganoff and more.

 

“My favorite thing to eat at the restaurant is our hamburger steaks — covered in brown gravy and grilled onions, delicious every time,” Campbell said. 

 

She recommended the plate lunch, which provides a choice between two types of meat and three sides, from potatoes and gravy and black-eyed peas to turnip greens and potato salad.

 

leisa-campbell

 

“You can’t go wrong,” she said. 

 

She said her role as a server is to greet customers, take orders, fill drinks, bring out food, make tea and coffee, and clean and prep her workstation. 

 

“If we get a not-so-nice customer, we do our very best to make sure they are pleased before they leave,” she said. “A waitress or a cook can almost always fix the problem.”

 

If Campbell makes her job look easy, it is only because years of experience have paid off.

 

“The food industry is very fast-paced,” she said. “It is busy, and it is constant.”

 

leisa-campbell

 

She added that anyone who hopes to excel in the industry must be patient, quick, kind, gracious, a good worker and a great people person.

 

“Working hard pays off, and you should always keep a smile on the job,” she said.

 

No one likes to see a bug at a restaurant — unless it is a shutterbug. In addition to serving, Campbell has pursued photography for eight years.

 

“My dream is to keep making happy memories with and for so many,” she said. 

 

READ ALSO: Server Says: Jennie Lumpkin of Fat Daddy’s Bar-B-Que