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R-Place Emphasizes Unique Experiences

Posted in: Truckstop Travels

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Locals, professional drivers and families traveling down the interstate find a unique dining experience at R-Place Family Eatery inside the Morris, Il., TA location. Kathy Romines is the driving force behind R-Place, and she creates the experience so many customers enjoy. She has been in the restaurant business for more than 50 years and started the restaurant in 1967 when her husband, Larry, bought the truckstop. Kathy took care of the customers who came inside their location, and Larry took care of the customers who needed service or assistance on the outside.

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The Romines family first opened the restaurant as the Chuck Wagon with 100 seats. In 1987, they decided to create a more unique restaurant experience, adding antique toys and a puppet show and re-named the site. 

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NATSO members visited R-Place during the NATSO Food and Fuel Study Tour in July. Kathy’s love, passion, and kindness shines through in everything she does in the restaurant. She makes dining an experience. She redecorates the restaurant every season and wants her customers to experience the fun and excitement of dining with her.

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The location offers specials that change every day so the customer always has a reason to come in. Burger fans or anyone looking for a unique photo can order the Premium Ethyl, which includes two-pounds of fresh hamburger, a one-pound hamburger bun and one pound of fixings. Nothing is overlooked. Everything is put together perfectly from the displays to the product collection. 

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Kathy has been cooking from scratch from the minute she opened the doors of her restaurant. Her team bakes bread, delicious pot pies, cakes and pies all from scratch. The in-house bakery draws in travelers, and it offers a range of sweet treats, including strawberry puff pillows, chocolate eclairs and brownies, as well as several types of breads and rolls, from cinnamon raison bread to marble rye. Customers can also purchase custom cakes, cookie trays and cupcake platters.

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The latest addition is the catering department, and R-Place caters weddings, showers, birthday parties, corporate functions and graduation parties. Kathy never stops learning how to do things better. She likes to learn about new restaurant trends and fun ideas to make customers happy.  

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Much of the appeal of R-Place is due to the people who work there. Romines understands the importance of taking care of her employees, and in turn they help her take care of the customers.

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Kathy loves her little piece of the world and truly enjoys giving back to her community. 

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/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? 


 Photos Credit: Darren Schulte and Ed Burcher

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.