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Like clockwork, Columbus residents Jim and Mary Huhman walk into Rancher’s Choice Cafe three times a week for breakfast.

Although the cafe has experienced several changes in the past year, the couple’s orders have remained consistent. Jim has a half order of hash browns covered in sausage gravy and Mary orders one egg over-easy with a slice of whole-wheat toast, no butter.

“When we come in, a lot of times they’re already preparing the food,” Mary Huhman said. “They know exactly what we have. We’ve had it for years.”

Since Beth Voichoskie became manager of the cafe about a year ago, the restaurant has undergone several updates and renovations. In September, Rancher's Choice revamped its menu and had new carpeting installed just two weeks ago. The restaurant also got equipped with new tables and chairs.

“I don’t really know what started it, I just decided to,” Voichoskie said about the changes. “It was something that we needed to do to make it better in here and hopefully attract more families.”

The restaurant is part of the T-Bone Truck Stop, owned by Bill Lehr, Sharon Lehr and Lance Lehr. Located at 4018 S. Ninth St., the cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Although the menu and signage all read Rancher’s Choice, Voichoskie and many customers refer to the venue as the T-Bone Cafe. Regardless of the name, Jim and Mary Huhman said they have continued to come to the restaurant throughout the years due to the friendly staff and inviting atmosphere. 

“The people, it’s very nice. Come in and it’s just like family,” Mary Huhman said. “It doesn’t seem like a professional building. (It's) like a home away from home “

Last year, Voichoskie created a group on Facebook so that the restaurant could share its daily specials and make updates. Today, the group has 271 members.

Waitress Supervisor Rachel Strong said the business has gotten good feedback from patrons about the new carpet and furniture.

“It’s nice just to have a fresh look in the place," Strong said. “We have had a really positive response from all the people thinking it’s great that we got it done."

Strong talked about the cafe’s new 1-pound hamburger. She said the monster of a patty is too much for her but will satisfy even the hungriest of appetites.

“The 1-pound burger, I don’t think I could do it,” she said. “It is ginormous. We don’t have a bun big enough.”

Voichoskie said though the cafe has experienced many changes in the past year, the restaurant's friendly environment has remained the same.

“A lot of customers just like the easy-going (environment). Rachel (Strong) is always joking with them and messing around. It’s just a more fun atmosphere,” Voichoskie said. ”She can probably name half of our customers. She knows their order, she doesn’t even have to go to the table, she knows it.”

Rancher’s Choice can be reached via phone by calling the truck stop’s store at 402-563-2933 and then asking to be redirected to the cafe. Check out their group on Facebook under the name T-Bone Cafe for daily specializes. 

Eric Schucht is a reporter with The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News Review.

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