Bill Smith’s Cafe owner Bill Smith Jr. calculated that more than 60 million eggs have been cooked in the family cafe since it opened in McKinney in August 1956.
At that time, the restaurant was in the middle of a cotton field, and there was nothing but open land between it and Denton, he said.
Since then, he said, the restaurant has become a staple for home cooking in Collin County.
“Our pancakes are probably our best seller,” said the owner, who took over the operation from his parents, Bill and Jeanette. “We’ve been making them from scratch the same way since
He said what continues to draw customers to his cafe is simple.
“We just cook like you would at home,” he said. “It’s a family atmosphere. We are more like a family. The people are what I enjoy most about this place. We have a good time.”
The restaurant’s best-selling lunch item is its chicken-fried steak.
“It’s just an old-timey chicken-fried steak,” the younger Smith said. “It’s not fast food. It’s my favorite thing we serve.”
The cafe has evolved over the years, opening at first with one small room and a grill and seating for 40, it now serves breakfast and lunch 365 days a year with space for 200.
“We’ve had as many as three restaurants going at the same time,” he said. “Through the years we’vetried being open 24 hours and we also had car hops at one time, but that was 40 or more years ago. I’m happy we are down to just one restaurant.”
Being open every day of the year is something the younger Smith said he is proud to do.
“There’s a lot of people who thank us for being open every day,” Bill said. “Not everyone has family around here, so being open for them is important, especially on days like Christmas
When he is not working at the restaurant, the younger Smith said he is probably on a boat fishing.
“I like to fish,” he said. “The only time I take off is to go to Brazil and fish for peacock bass in the Amazon jungle, which I try to do once a year, or to Mexico to fish for black bass.”
When he is away from the cafe fishing, his daughter, Debbie, who normally works behind the cash register, helps run the cafe.
He said he hopes she wants to take over for him one day.
However, the owner said he does not plan on retiring any time soon.
“People always ask me when I’m going to retire,” Smith said. “I really just love it. It’s in my blood, and I just look forward to coming to work every day. I guess I’ll stop working when I fall out back there.”
1510 W. University Drive, McKinney
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 5 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun. 5 a.m-noon