Town Crier News Staff
Doris Murray will celebrate 17 years of business on April 15. She said the years have gone by fast and she is pleased to still be serving her customers who have become her good friends.
She, her husband, the late Clint Murray, and her daughter, Teresa Fleeman, decided to open the Smoke Stack, located at the corner of Northwest Dewey and Olympia Streets in Manila, and built a building next to her home.
Mr. Murray died Dec. 17, 2005, after a long illness.
"I thought about closing the business because of his illness, but he was determined to get up every morning and keep going," Mrs. Murray said.
In the early years of the business, the three owners did a lot of catering, but now Mrs. Murray is very content to open six days a week offering barbecue sandwiches, fish, hamburgers, or chili dogs (that have been renamed "thousand leggers" because of the way she cuts the wieners).
Mrs. Murray said she is glad she did not close the business because she still enjoys serving breakfast and lunch each day. She opens at 5:30 a.m. every morning and closes at 1 p.m.
"I'm not getting rich but it helps me stay busy," she said. "Even though I am old enough to retire, I am not ready to quit. My customers are my friends and I miss them on Sundays, and I am ready to open the doors on Monday. I have several people who have been coming here for years. I have one gentleman who moved here in 1991 and comes for breakfast every morning.
"We use the barbecue sauce Clint created using a little of this and a little of that. He always made it himself and we finally talked him into writing down his recipe for us."
The Smoke Stack is a "one woman" operation but Mrs. Murray said if she gets in a bind she knows she can call on her daughter to help out.
She recently underwent surgery and took off a week, but again said she was ready to get back to making sausage and biscuits.
"We started remodeling last July and finished in September giving everything a face lift," she said.
Mrs. Murray enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, Aaron Fleeman, 11, Ashley Swafford, 7, and Christin Swafford, 4.