LA MONTE — A new restaurant and bar have opened in La Monte with plans to host a grand opening Friday, Oct. 2.
Twyla Sockness-Griffin, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Marcus Griffin, said she opened in May as a takeout-only option due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant, which offers homemade comfort foods, opened to indoor dining about six weeks ago.
She added her husband cooks most of the food and most items are homemade.
“Right now, the tenderloin is the winner,” she noted. “Because I pound (it) out and I came up with my own batter for it. Everybody’s saying, ‘it’s not the same as everybody else’s’ and mine’s not.”
Sockness-Griffin is originally from Wisconsin and she said restaurants in the state don’t serve tenderloin. Although she was unfamiliar with making it, she’s pleased the dish is a customer favorite.
She added she’s thankful everyone waited so patiently for the restaurant to fully open and for her to get her recipes down pat.
“God love these people for going through everything with me,” she said. “I first went through a grocery company batter and it was real hard … so then I started developing my own.
“They (the customers) have been through spicy, they’ve been through too hard, they’ve been through a lot of stuff, but they stuck with me,” she continued. “And they give their feedback on everything.”
She sees people eat at the restaurant not only from La Monte but also from Sedalia and Sweet Springs.
Opening a restaurant was something Sockness-Griffin had always wanted to do.
“I was a salesperson and sales manager my whole career,” she explained. “Frito Lay, Sara Lee — I did that stuff. Then I kind of retired … I remodeled the kitchen, and put up a fence, and got a great tan last summer.”
She said she became bored and began working for Jennifer Edwards at End Zone Sports Bar & Grill in Sedalia. Sockness-Griffin credits Edwards as being her mentor and for helping her get the restaurant started.
“Jen’s helped me a lot,” she said. “She hooked me up with the people for the pool tables and she gives me advice. She’s been a very good mentor.”
At Twyla’s, along with down-home comfort foods such as meatloaf, a Bourbon Barbecue Bacon Burger, Broasted Chicken, and a Drunken Pork Chop, Sockness-Griffin sells homemade desserts such as cake-shakes, carrot cake and pie.
“Pie seems to be the thing,” she noted, smiling. “Everyone wants pie. Of course, that’s not my wheelhouse, pie crust and me do not get along. But people want the pies, so I’ll just adjust.”
On the appetizer side, she also sells Wisconsin-style cheese curds and fried portabella mushrooms.
“The portabella mushrooms are huge,” she noted. “I made my own batter for that. It’s been fun. I feel like a little chemist back there, and I’ve made a couple different shots, trying things.”
Sockness-Griffin said her love for cooking comes from watching various families cook as a child and she also enjoys watching cooking shows on television.
“The chemistry of it and the science of it is what’s interesting to me,” she added. “It has to be the right amount of each thing to get the result you want.”
She added she wasn’t expecting the restaurant to be a “huge” success, but she’s finding it’s providing a real niche in a small community, where youth can come and play pool and families can grab a bite to eat.
“It is mostly food, the bar is basically here to support the restaurant,” she noted.
Twyla’s also has pool tables and a small stage for live entertainment.
Sockness-Griffin added she wants the place to be fun. She is planning karaoke at 9 p.m. this Saturday plus other live entertainment in the future.
The restaurant will host a grand opening at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 with Full Moon Band.
For more information, visit Twyla’s Restaurant & Bar on Facebook or call 660-975-5040. Twyla’s, 304 W. Front St. in La Monte, opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m. and the bar at 1:30 a.m.