Bill Smith's Cafe

By: Nicole.Holt Email
By: Nicole.Holt Email

What started as a good ole fashioned eatery back in 1956, has become a Collin County landmark. For 51 years it's never skipped a beat.

Bill and Jeanette Smith opened the restaurant so many years ago. "My husband was from McKinney. He was in the Navy and when he got out he didn't want to go back to the job he had. He always wanted a restaurant, so we opened one."

So on an August afternoon, “Bill Smith's Cafe" opened on West University Avenue near a cotton field in the outskirts of Collin County. “From this restaurant there was a little store on the right on the corner. And that was it from here to Denton.” Jeanette’s younger son Bill Junior has now taken over the café.

51 years ago, the cafe debuted with t-bone steaks for just $1.45 and 85 cent plate lunch specials. But there prices haven't gone up much and to this day, it's their chicken fried steak that's the talk of the town.

Nicole Holt asks, “Can you still get Chicken Fried Steak?”
Bill Smith Jr. says, “Oh yeah, it's our best seller. Even people from up north are eating it."

And it’s the small town atmosphere is what keeps the locals coming back for more. John Elliott has been coming here for years, “Come up here every morning, shoot the bull, drink coffee, and sit around."

After only an hour, you get the feel of comfort. Maybe it's the good ole fashioned food, or maybe it's the sincerity that comes with not only the staff, but those who come so far to enjoy the food.

Robert Seabolt says, “It's always good, never get anything bad here. My wife and I eat here quite a bit.""

Now the family owned business is getting recognition they'd never expected, honoring the oldest continuously owned family eatery in McKinney.

Nicole Holt says, “Did you ever think after 50 years later this would still be here?
Jeanette Smith says, “No not really.”
Nicole: “So how does that feel?”
Jeanette: “Pretty good."

Bill Smith's Cafe is opened 365 days a year from 4am-2pm.

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  • by MW Location: Howe on Jun 11, 2007 at 02:52 PM
    Great food. If you haven't been there, go!!! Good 'ol country food. Delicious.
  • by Bob Rutledge Location: Burleson, Texas on Jun 11, 2007 at 09:53 AM
    In 1968-1970, I was the Plant Foreman for Southwestern Bell Telephone in McKinney. We held many of our company breakfasts at Bill Smith's cafe. Bill alowed us to "run a bill" on the meals and then sent the tab to our office. He had to wait a couple of days to get his money, but it never seemed to bother him. Not many cafes would do that even back then. I have often wonder if the old cafe was still in business. Thanks for the update.
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