When business is good in one place, maybe it’s a great time to expand.
In the same location as the former Tea Room adjacent to Kountry Korral, the Hobbs Outlaw Grill at 521 W. Navajo promises to be just as great a place to have lunch or dinner as the original Outlaw Grill in Eunice.
Owner Johnny Robertson, who first accepted the key to the City of Eunice almost six years ago, accepted the key to the City of Hobbs Thursday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the Hobbs Chamber of Commerce.
He told the News-Sun his Hobbs location came to reality after a call from Kountry Korral and Tea Room owner Kathy Jones.
He said, “Kathy, next door, contacted me and said, ‘Hey, I’m ready to get out of the restaurant business. I see you’re doing so good down there. Why don’t you come up here and do something with it?’ Everything keeps going good.”
Robertson first opened the Hobbs Outlaw Grill in January, exactly five years after opening the Eunice location. The Hobbs restaurant was to be open only on the weekends for a while, to see how customers took it. They took it very well. Now, it’s open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 5-9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving highly praised steaks, seafood and other prized dishes.
“We do steak. We do seafood. We have an Italian food background. Of course, we have chicken fried steak and hamburgers,” Robertson said. “I’m trying to get our beer and wine license here. That should be any time soon and we’re looking forward to that. It’s been a year in the making.”
He said the restaurant has a “little bit of everything and for each budget, low to high, and plenty of parking.”
Robertson said he’s always been involved in the restaurant business, working with his father who ran the Big Cheese Pizza in Eunice for more than 20 years.
“I took it over this year, as well. I had my interest in the restaurant industry. One thing led to another and here I am,” he said.
Occasionally serving as the chef when not involved in management duties, Robertson said his favorite meal to cook is the “Jesse James.”
“It is a potato puree with thinly sliced tenderloin steak cooked to order topped with a chipotle demi-glace and crispy-fried veggies,” he explained.
He really comes to life when a customer thinks “out of the box” and orders something more exotic.
“I like to do the exotic things. We have shark on the menu, so I think it’s pretty cool when people order shark or something like that out of the ordinary,” Robertson said. “When they come in and get a chicken fried steak, I know we can do that well, but I like it when they think outside the box and get something different.”
How does he present shark?
“We do a fresh strawberry pico de gallo, so it’s kind of sweet and spicy,” he said. “The dish has some grilled asparagus, the shark, then it’s like a salsa/pico with strawberry, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, pepper, a little garlic and then we have baby spuds, little potatoes, with Cajun seasoning on them. It’s a really elegant–looking dish.”
Robertson employs about 25 people for each Outlaw Grill and about 20 at the Big Cheese location, totaling about 70 workers.
The Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting came as a result of his joining the Hobbs chamber.
“We’ve been a member of the chamber in Eunice about six years. Now, it’s really a good deal to be a part of both,” Robertson said.