Owner Lloyd Ashbaker offered a simple explanation for the motive behind the decor:
“I like him,” Lloyd said.
He said he has used this straightforward approach in making decisions since the restaurant’s opening. He opened the eatery with his wife, Nancy Ashbaker, in 2002 as a steakhouse, but it evolved into more of a casual diner. Lloyd said he wanted comfort food.
“I’ve been to all kinds of fancy steakhouses,” he said. “I just want to go to the diner.”
Customers will still find hand-cut steaks on the menu. But there are also homemade biscuits, dumplings, chicken noodle soup and chicken-fried steak served in generous portions—and the tacos are a big seller. ••Health-conscious diners can also enjoy guilt-free options such as salads, Nancy said.
The steakhouse is a popular gathering spot for cowboys and ranchers, and Lloyd said he enjoys it when children come in and recognize John Wayne on the walls.
“A lot of these kids come from ranches, from farmland,” he said. “We get a lot of cowboys here.”
For the Ashbakers, their work and marriage are products of decades of commitment. Before Old Montgomery Steak House, Lloyd said he owned two other restaurants, and he is now heading into his 25th year of working in the restaurant business. Three of his employees have worked for him all 24 years.
The couple, who attended the same high school in Ohio, has been married for 56 years. After working for Chevron, Lloyd said he tried to settle into retirement. He picked up golfing and fishing. He and Nancy traveled, but something drew them to a new venture.
“We decided to go to work,” he said.
Old Montgomery Steakhouse
204 McCown St., Montgomery
Hours: Sun.-Tue. 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.