By LORI SOLA | For the Pioneer
The Traveling Kitchen Catering Service, Inc., is a business that does exactly as the name describes: the kitchen travels to wherever the people are to serve them delicious food.
Since July 2008, the mother-daughter team of Donna Graham Crow and Jennifer Pond have been catering various events in the area. This family owned and operated business has the motto, “No job too little or too big.”
“We started at the golf course cooking for men’s and ladies nights,” Donna said. “Jennifer did the grill work and I waited tables and cooked the special meals for the night.”
It wasn’t long before they began catering bigger events such as Nite at the Races, business meetings, concessions at the high school rodeo finals, benefits, corporate lunches, Christmas parties, auctions, NRA banquets, farmer rancher appreciation banquets, and anniversary parties, Crow explained through an email.
“The largest banquet we have catered was around 350 meals,” Donna said. “Today, I do most of the cooking and Jennifer helps with the setup and serving. Unless we have steaks, then Jennifer does the grilling if she’s available.” Donna’s sister, Ronda Miller, and Donna’s grandchildren often help out at events.
Although customers usually know what they want when they contact Donna and Jennifer, they do make suggestions from time to time. And with over 100 cookbooks, inspiration is only a fingertip away.
More valuable than her collection of cookbooks, however, is Donna’s life-long experience that began at the tender age of five.
“I grew up in a bake shop,” Donna said. “My mom was a baker in Smitty’s Bake Shop and Café in Baker, Mont.” She helped out with small things until she began waiting tables at age 13 then began working the grill after it became Nellie’s Bake Shop.
Throughout the years, Donna has also worked at the bowling alley in Baker, Mert’s Café in Marmarth, Gateway in Bowman, Green Dragon Loft in Baker and Nite Train Steak House in Harlem, Mont., before owning her own business in 1997.
“I had the honor of having Hunter’s Table and Tavern in Rhame for seven years,” Donna said. “In 1999, we created The Rough Neck Burger…a hamburger on Texas toast with hot sauce, fried onions, pepper jack cheese and bacon. It quickly became the signature burger.”
In 2001, The Hunter’s Table and Tavern was featured on The Food Network show and many of their recipes were used in different magazines. During that time, Jennifer cooked and waited tables.
“Most times if we find something new we want to try, we will cook it as a noon special at the Rhame Café first,” Donna explained. “If it’s a hit, we’ll keep the recipe. If not, we don’t try it again.”
In September, the family celebrated their third anniversary at the Rhame Café. By keeping the café open, they were able to continue serving senior meals three days a week and decided to serve the public six days a week.
“Both Jennifer and I enjoy interacting with and serving the public,” Donna said. “I love it when they truly enjoy and appreciate what we make for them.”
The Rough Neck is still served today with the addition of jalapenos and ghost pepper cheese, if requested, as well as a new creations called the TKC Burger, a hamburger, special sauce, Swiss cheese, ham, bacon and two onion rings on a homemade bun.
Rhame Café is also known for their pan-fried chicken, succulent roast beef, Indian tacos and homemade hamburger buns.
Rhame Café is located at 56 Main Street and is open Monday – Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., featuring a noon special every day.
âï¿½ For questions regarding Rhame Café or the Traveling Kitchen Catering Service, Inc., call 701-279-6900.
Lori Sola is a freelance writer for the Pioneer. She can be reached through the editor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.