What’s in a name? A great deal, especially if you’re a couple of savvy culinary-trained chefs who are serving local food in a small town with lots of history. There’s even more in a name if you’re someone who wants to know not just where your food came from, but which farmer is actually growing it.
Nestled in the gentle green hills of northwest Missouri in the small village of Stanberry is some serious foodie heaven. The restaurant is called Wabash Junction, and it’s named after the Wabash Railroad – an integral player in the creation of the town of Stanberry, Mo. Several decades ago when Wabash engineers surveyed the town, they gave the name to several area businesses, such as the Wabash Hotel, nicknamed the Wabash.
The same community spirit and “know-you-by-name” feeling is there today in the restaurant Wabash Junction, but if you’re expecting same-old country fare, think again. The food served by professional chefs and owners Katie and Jason Thomas comes fresh from local farms, and an ongoing, positive relationship with these farmers keeps this dedication to freshness going. This also means a quickly changing menu, reflecting what’s in season, everything from vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn to local meats. (This is an example of how relationship marketing as part of a content strategy takes a rich turn.)
Knowing the people who supply your product or service, working together alongside them for quality and building a brand around consistent service in the right location provides a steady fuel for strong word-of-mouth referrals and customers hungry for more. In fact, you can find read the actual names of the farmers who supply fresh food to Wabash Junction on the website, complete with an offer to partner with your own home-grown organic produce. A large Facebook following is rewarded with weekly notes about what’s fresh on the menu.
Clientele to Wabash Junction continues to grow, in part from blogs, feature stories and news pieces circulating online – and also in part from the community’s ongoing support and comraderie with the restaurant. Katie and John have friends and family in the area, and have been able to place their professional culinary experience and dedication to great local food in an atmosphere that matches the neighborly community. Wabash Junction is also part of a restaurant alliance across northwest Missouri, a group working hard to promote homemade and regional foods and a slice of America’s heartland.
Today the team at SJC honors Wabash Junction for their commitment to using the very best of what’s around, and for sharing not just the fresh, local food but the total experience of enjoying a meal. This is truly what customers are hungry for.