BELOIT - When at Double B Farm Country Store & Café, 2777 S. Brostuen Road, you might have to wait a bit longer for your food. You will be so close to others that you may have no choice but to strike up a conversation.
That's what owner Barbara Beeler reminds her customers, and it's part of the many reasons they love going there. The restaurant featuring farm-to-table fare attracts fans from as far as Rockford, Chicago and beyond as well as locals who like to "hold court."
All are willing to make the drive out to the country to enjoy the meals and homey feel.
"Don't be in a hurry. It's not fast food, it's really good food," Barbara Beeler said.
"I love it. It's real, the way food should be, not all packaged," said Ray Gehrig, owner of Gehrig Sporting Clays in Janesville, who stopped in with his wife Audrey and friends Mike and Linda Strzok in early June.
The friends said they always enjoy seeing the goats frolicking in the yard, eating fresh food and the unexpected surprises along the way, such as a baby goat named Molly or a new piece of artwork for sale by a local artist. It's an eclectic feel and personal service made possible by owners Dan and Barbara Beeler who run it farmside.
Linda Strzok said she's always been impressed with the place, noting she accidentally brought her swim class of 20 from the YMCA on a closed day, and the owners opened it up for her.
"It's like going home to the family," Strzok said.
In very close proximity to the Strzoks and Gehrigs were fans Mike McElroy and brothers Joe and Jim Wollinger.
"Everything's fresh, hot, delicious and you get to visit," Joe Wollinger said.
Joe Wollinger, a chef at Blackhawk Technical College and friend to the Beelers, said the breakfast bowls are big hits. He said he appreciates how all the food is grown on the Beeler farm.
Double B Farm Country Store & Café is open 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. It's also open to serve stone oven pizza from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
The Beelers said they started the restaurant in 2011. Dan had worked at Warner Electric for 37 years before it closed down and he was looking for another opportunity.
Barbara Beeler, who once swore she'd never end up in food service, had a lifetime of experience to contribute. Her mother was a waitress for 40 years at the former Wagon Wheel resort in Rockton. Barbara had worked in culinary arts at Beloit Memorial Hospital and Blackhawk Technical College as well as serving biscuits and gravy at the Beloit Farmers Market with her husband. Meanwhile, the Beelers had been running their farm since 1993, raising lamb, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
When they first started telling people about their plans for a restaurant on the farm, many thought it could never survive. Today, some people drive more than two hours to visit it.
Some of the culinary attractions include the famous "duck butt muffins" which may be covered in bourbon, blackberry brandy or orange vodka glazes and are made with duck eggs. Ribeyes are also popular.
"People's eyes light up because we cut our own rib eyes, and they are quite large," Barbara Beeler said.
Part of the allure is fresh food made in front of one's eyes, with no food under a heat lamp.
"If you order bacon, you get fresh bacon," Barbara Beeler said. "You will have to wait a little bit and perhaps have coffee while the food cooks. A lot of people who haven't seen each other for years run into each and it's pretty funny. We are not a franchise, it's just Dan and I and a little kitchen."