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New Businesses Open in Downtown Stearns


By Eugenia Jones

Whistle Stop Restaurant will reopen on
Friday with new proprietor

Ryan West, as new proprietor of the Whistle Stop Restaurant located in the Stearns Depot, will host a grand opening this weekend. The restaurant features casual American dining with appetizers, specialty burgers, steaks, pastas, breaded catfish, desserts, and other menu items, West is pictured with Alisha Tucker.



By bringing American casual dining to McCreary County, thirty-seven year old Ryan West is aiming to please and counting on local patrons as well as tourists to make his new business venture at the Whistle Stop Restaurant a success. West, a McCreary County native who has a sociology degree and served four years in the Navy, has leased the Whistle Stop Restaurant from the McCreary County Heritage Foundation with the intention of offering something “a little different” in McCreary County.
“I really don’t want to be in competition with the restaurants already established here in McCreary County,” West shared. “I want to be successful in offering the type of dining experience people from here only get by driving to Somerset, Knoxville, or Lexington.”
West, who worked at Applebee’s in Lexington for five years, has also worked at Cracker Barrel and a small family type restaurant in Pulaski County.
“I’ve done every job from dishwasher on up to management,” West said with a smile. “Working your way up gives you experience. It also earns respect from those who work with you.”
The Whistle Stop’s grand opening is this Friday, April 27 from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. With the menu already offering specialty burgers, pasta, breaded catfish, salads, appetizers, and homemade desserts, West is confident the menu will continue to grow.
“We plan to add more items to the menu after we get established,” West commented. “We are trying to prepare our food using as many local ingredients as possible. Our steaks, burgers, and a lot of our produce come from local sources, and our catfish breading is a Kentucky Proud item.”
Patrons of the Whistle Stop can begin their meal with one of many appetizers including wings, fried pickles, nachos, fried green tomatoes, and zucchini fries. Entrees include traditional Alfredo and Cajun pastas, sirloin and ribeye steaks, breaded catfish, and specialty burgers. West feels the specialty burgers are signature entrée items at the Whistle Stop as choices include a burger topped with (in season) fried green tomatoes, mushroom Swiss burger, slaw burger, and a tasty Southwestern quesadilla burger. Homemade desserts, including peach cobbler, chess pie, and peanut butter pie, bring a sweet finish to any Whistle Stop meal.
The Whistle Stop is open seven days per week. Call in and carry out are available by calling 606-376-2623.

Choo Choo Daddy-O’s

Paula Stephens and Extension Agent Amy Fugate discuss the upcoming McCreary County Extension Service Homemakers’ Area Luncheon/Annual Meeting to be hosted at the McCreary Heritage and Community Center in Stearns on May 24. The Luncheon/Meeting, which is expected to draw visitors from ten counties, includes an opportunity for those attending to visit local shops such as Choo Choo Daddy-O’s.

Family of Mike and Paula Stephens open family operated clothing shop
Accustomed to driving long distances to buy clothing her children liked when they were young, Paula Stephens dreamed of establishing a clothing shop in McCreary County for a long time. Her dream has finally come true in the form of the family’s new shop, Choo Choo Daddy-O’s, located in downtown Stearns.
“Mike’s brother, R.L., was a greaser from back in the day,” Paula said with a laugh. “He was constantly fixing up cars and running fast. He would always say, ‘Choo choo, Daddy-O’ which simply means, ‘See you later, old man!’ That stuck with us and fits here in Stearns since we have the Moonshiners’ Run Car Show and the train.”
The shop offers a variety of clothing including ladies skirts, jeans, casual tops, and retro vintage dresses (including swing, wiggle, and mermaid.) With something for everyone, sizes are available for ladies who are slim, curvy, or in-between. A Big & Tall section is offered for men.
Already attracting local business and tourists visiting Stearns to ride the scenic railway, Paula was excited to share the shop’s experience with a recent tourist.
“Today, a lady from Louisville who was in town to ride the train bought a dress. She said she couldn’t get over the good prices and actually chose one of our dresses to wear to the Derby! It’s great to know we’ve sold a dress that will be appearing at the Derby! ”
Choo Choo Daddy-O’s is located on Henderson Street in downtown Stearns next to Mehg’s Pottery. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 until 5:00.

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