“Famous” Steak and Catfish Barn back in business

A popular Oklahoma restaurant is back in business.

Back in August, Steak and Catfish Barn closed their doors at Waterloo and I-35 after 15 years of business.

Dino Smalley and his wife Maria were ready to retire their beloved restaurant.

Smalley says, “I thought that was it.”

That is until longtime customer Bob Warner got word they were closing.

During their last days in August, Warner couldn’t get enough.

“We went out there three times in one week,” says Warner. “The more I thought about it I said, I’d like to do that.”

“I just kind of left it in God’s hands,” says Smalley. “I said if you want this thing to carry on then by fate it’s just going to carry on, and it did.”

In just a week Warner’s mind was made up. He had purchased the name and the secret recipes.

At 79-years-old he’s ready to carry on the legacy.

“One of my doctors told me I had more energy than I had sense,” says Warner. “I would do more than what I should be doing.”

Warner has moved the catfish down the interstate to a location at Hefner and I-35 and that’s about the only thing that’s changing.

Part of their agreement was to keep everything exactly the way it was.

Maria Vitale says, “When the customer comes in they feel at home again.”

The decorations, the food and even some of the wait staff are exactly the way their customers remember it.

Smalley says, “It’s a nice legacy to look back on as an accomplishment.”

“Doing it the way it’s been successful,” says Warner. “That’s the most important thing to me.”

And the anticipation is killing some of their longtime customers.

In the short time we were there they had to turn away several people, telling them you’ll have to wait until they open on Monday, January 13.