ATOKA, Okla. (KFOR) – Just when you thought she couldn’t fit anything else on her plate, you can now add “restaurant owner” to Reba McEntire’s resume.
“This has been a dream come true,” Reba told visitors during the restaurant’s grand opening on Thursday afternoon. “It has just turned out to be something that was way beyond my imagination.”
Shelley Johnson, an employee at Reba’s Place, said the place was buzzing with excitement on opening day.
“Everybody loves it,” Johnson said. “Everybody loves her.”
The three-story dining, bar, entertainment and retail venue is located in Atoka, about 12 miles south from Reba’s hometown of Chockie.
“I get another excuse to get to come home to our state,” said Reba. “It’s going to help our town, it’s going to help the community, it’s going to bring jobs in.”
The restaurant’s “soft opening” was held earlier this month. So far, Reba’s Place has drawn a crowd from all over the country to eat and check out the memorabilia all throughout the building.
“We’ve had people come from Florida, from Wyoming,” said Johnson. “I sat a couple that was here from Winsconsin the other day. It’s pretty amazing.”
The menu is said to be inspired by the food Reba grew up with in Southeast Oklahoma, as well as choices inspired from cities and regions associated with her career, like Nashville, Tennessee. Items include “slow smoked Choctaw beef brisket,” a Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich, and a “Southern charcuterie board” featuring country ham and boiled peanut hummus, among other apps and entrees.
Fans at Thursday night’s grand opening didn’t have to turn on the radio to hear Reba’s music, as she surprised guests with a performance.
“It’s music that helped build this place,” said Reba.
Directly before Reba took the stage, Janie Dillard, the senior executive officer of the Choctaw Nation’s division of commerce, also made sure to give Reba plenty of credit.
“Her hands are all over this property here tonight,” Dillard told diners at Thursday’s event. “She says, ‘The team did this, the team did that.’ No, she’s a woman very involved. She’s a savvy businesswoman. She’s picked out every dish you’ve got on your table tonight. She’s picked out every color. Draperies, color schemes, color palettes. Everything. She’s been so engaged.
“She’s on every call. We don’t have a call without her being on there,” Dillard said.
Reba’s Place is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to the restaurant’s website.